I was sitting in the front row of The Flaming Locomotive after having scurried back from another show in Maylands and to be honest I didn’t even know what I was about to watch. I’d been asked only a couple of days before if I could review some shows at the venue and this was the second one I was able to squeeze in that night. I had no idea other than a place and a time.
Then this guy popped out of a side door and proceeded to announced how he’d fluffed his big entrance as the music swelled because his microphone wasn’t switched on. That gentleman wearing a Ramones t-shirt and sporting piercings, tattoos, and facial hair reminiscent of The Mandarin from Iron Man 3 was Richard McKenzie. Here’s the thing, from that moment on I was totally relaxed and engaged with what turned out to be an excellent hour of stand-up comedy. This guy from Melbourne was a very good storyteller and bloody funny!
So then we get into the pretext for the show about how this really was a homage to his dad who passed away a few years ago and who had lived a life full of adventures. Far more interesting than Richard and his three brothers though having sat through some of his own personal tales I gotta say, it’s lineball, man!
Now, I’m not going to spoil any of these comedic gems that are told in such a thoroughly entertaining and unassuming way that I was heartily cacking myself all evening. Suffice to say that Richard’s dad seemed to have a knack for meeting some fairly interesting people in some fairly interesting circumstances while being totally oblivious to the significance of it all. As in, “Wow, really? That’s fucking awesome!”
Richard himself was no blushing violet when it came to the search for a decent chicken kebab in a place where you kind of just don’t rock up and order a snack and a Coke with no more than a smile. He also has vast experience with drinking games in dodgy clubs in Melbourne with customers of, let’s simply say, dubious character. Not to mention being the kind hearted neighbour who rescues elderly women whilst possibly suffering concussion due to an unexpected collision. The recounting of said collision had me struggling to breathe at the unexpected absurdity of it all I was laughing that hard. He also has a claim to fame after an encounter late one night leaving a pub in Melbourne that actually led to a press conference.
All of these stories were told with such flair and great comic sensibility. There was a poignant moment at the end that circles back to his father that was touching and funny. This was an excellent way to end the night and the venue was perfect as an intimate setting for McKenzie to work in. He was relaxed and into the material, responding casually to comments from the audience and having a real rapport with us. I really enjoyed this. Sort of guy you’d want to have a drink at the bar with. His dad would be proud.
Richard McKenzie – A Sting in the Tale is on at The Flaming Locomotive until 20 February.