After the bad news year of 2020, is it too soon for a musical comedy show about COVID-19?
Not for Paul McDermott; he’s built a career over 40 years on dropping too-soon jokes, then following them up with an impish grin. 'Plus One' is Paul’s unfinished COVID symphony of laughs.
In 'Plus One', Paul McDermott of Doug Anthony All-Stars and 'Good News Week' fame, alongside guitarist Glenn Moorhouse, deliver a contemplation on the madness of pandemic lockdown while using the five stages of grief as a narrative touch stone.
As a new work, though, this Tuesday night performance was the first time they’d managed to make it through all five stages within the allotted time. As is often the case, Adelaide is a test run of new material before the big show, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Much of the banter between songs, particularly the excoriatingly accurate Adelaide jokes, will be discarded but the bones of the show, the songs, are already in place: ‘ScoMo No Homo’, ‘Pete Evans’ Magic Machine’ and ‘I Want To Self-Isolate With You’ are even funnier than they sound. This is political satire at its most biting, not the watered down 'The Project'-style drivel.
While much of 'Plus One' was off-the-cuff and tangential, that is territory where Paul McDermott thrives, as he tore into his ageing fan base and the South Australian ambivalence to COVID precautions. Paul is the Morrissey of Australian stand-up comedy: red velvet jacket, voice of an angel, quarrelsome; he’s just a tad more left wing and much more fun to spend an hour with.