David Massingham graced the Comedy Festival last year with a sketch show that proved the old style of dedicated writing that hit the comedy beats is very much still alive and relevant. Those who Massingham’s previous outing will be pleased to know this year’s incarnation will succeed familiar expectations. Little Sketch Book of Horrors adds a horror theme to the mix, and it is a glorious masterpiece of witty wordplay, intelligent setups, and enjoyable audience collaborations.
This is sketch comedy done in the classical and professional style of witty writing and grounded character work. Massingham is clearly enjoying himself and the reactions of those who are beckoned to join him, yet this does not overwhelm nor derail the show – something often prevalent in modern sketch shows to drive the humour. The writing, planning, callbacks, and the play within the rules in sketch work are deliberate and rhythmical. In fact, they are probably the strongest one will likely see throughout the festival. Massingham has clearly been working on this show for a lengthy amount of time, and there is satisfaction in realising and experiencing this in the crowd.
The expectation to be drawn into the kookiness of the content is well warned at the top of the show, however all of the audience participation is delightful and rewarding even when the feeling of ‘not knowing what’s to come’ begins to settle in. Massingham knows how to leave a crowd in joy, earn his ‘out loud’ laughter without the crowd ever feeling like they’re being polite, and captivates all of this with comical expression and a booming voice. He is a talented and dedicated sketch connoisseur and artist that deserves to be the go-to name for somebody within this line of comedy.
Corey M. Glamuzina is a Melbourne-based actor, writer, improvisor, and comedian with an avid involvement in the art of theatre and film.
Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of David Massingham.