For me, comedy is a tricky one. Not everyone finds humour in the same situations and it balances on a very thin line of funny or awkward. Anyone in the audience can tell the difference in the way people laugh at a comedy show, and it can fall flat pretty quickly. That is why I, personally, prefer comedy that focuses on the way it is told rather than waiting for a punchline that could swing either way. The delivery of the performance is what I believe drives the show and binds the audience together to find a common space where everyone can laugh, despite the many differences.
This is exactly why I enjoyed John Vlismas’ new show Brain Dump. And I must admit surprisingly so, because with my limited knowledge of Vlismas, one thing I do know is that nothing is off limits and swearing is more like a part of his vocabulary than it is a bad word. Although not all of his subject matter was relatable, his delivery still had me giggling. Pushing past all that, the 2 hour show is packed with informative knowledge about the brain using his dad’s recent stroke as a basis for his material. (Don’t worry, we were told he is doing much better.) Vlismas has clearly done his homework and fluidly uses medical terms like it’s his profession, while constantly keeping the ball in the air with the audience’s attention and laughter. He starts the show with an absolute bang, where I was already crying from laughing and my smile lines ached. Somewhere in the middle the information weighed down the pace, but Vlismas was able to pick it back up and end the show on a high, with some audience members still chuckling as they walked out.
With Vlismas, he doesn’t hide who he is and straight out of the gate he lays down the terms and conditions. He’s brutally honest, and cleverly witty, always grabbing your attention by interacting with a few audience members. Yet not in the way that makes you feel stupid, or like you have to slouch in your chair and avoid eye contact the whole time. The focus is on him and his material, which is exactly why you’ve come to see the show. And the material is plenty! With no interval, the show flows from beginning to end without loosing the audience’ energy that Vlismas worked so hard to get from the start. For a one-man show, this is incredibly impressive and a lot of hard work.
Also, not forgetting Gilli Apter, who opened the show with the trendiest outfit and a cool charisma that made me want to be best friends with her, or know more about her, or both. Apter eased the audience into their seats, especially the very late comers who of course were seated right in the front. Fairly new to the stand up comedy scene, her years of experience in the entertainment industry is a strong back bone to give her the confidence on stage.
Brain Dump is currently running until 12 August 2018, at Studio Theatre at Montecasino. Tickets are available from the Box Office at Montecasino or at Computicket.
Read the press release here, which perfectly describes the tone of the show.
The show is advised for persons 16 years or older due to language and subject matter.