Reece Boyall’s sold out first performance of Unexpected Times of Learning at this year’s Sydney Comedy Festival, has to be one of my favourites by a newcomer. He may be new to the Sydney comedy scene but his stage presence, quality timing and delivery immediately gave us the confidence that we were in good hands.
A key aspect of the show was variety. Covering a range of comedic and theatrical styles, from storytelling to LOTR re-enactments, there was never a dull, nor predictable, moment. My plus one and I were particularly tickled by his jokes about being a good old fashioned mess at high school and uni. There’s a fine line between comedic and cringe worthy, but Reece’s good-natured roasting of
himself and his mates steered clear of that line and the drinking jokes came off as completely entertaining and relatable, and by no means like blokey banter.
Far from it in fact, even more enjoyable was Reece’s talent for subverting the stereotypical norms about drinking, high school students, and ‘finding yourself’ and spinning them into a masterfully told story.
Touching on his time working as a bartender living with backpackers helped to enlighten us further as to how Reece manages to be so insightful on such a wide range of topics. Reece tackles his content like an anthropologist in untouched jungles, with a fresh-faced wonder, questioning, reimagining, and poking holes in all behaviour that he sees.
It’s worth mentioning, as quite a bit of his material seems inspired by stereotypes and lessons of a certain German backpacker, how Reece might seem if he were the one abroad. He comes off as your ‘stereotypical’ Aussie – good natured, humble, with plenty of drinking stories. However, we saw numerous times throughout the show that he was more than meets the eye.
Reece’s performance had all the classic aspects of a great comedy show – feel good coming of age anecdotes, jokes tipping toxic masculinity on its head, as well as a few tips on kidnapping foreigners. OK, maybe these aren’t the trappings of a
‘regular’ stand-up comedy, but maybe they should be.
Elli de Ryckman de Betz trains for comedy festivals the way others train for marathons. For months she has been dedicated in the pursuit – drinking wine and watching stand up online seemingly without rest, to hone her abilities and make sure she laughs at only the best quality jokes.
Reece Boyall Unexpected Times of Learning is showing again on Friday 17 th May at the Factory Theatre. Make sure to get your tickets now to avoid disappointment.