Written and performed by Con Coutis
Reviewed by Justin Clarke
Sydney Fringe Festival – Factory Theatre
14th-16th September 2022
Melbourne Fringe Festival – The Butterfly Club
17th – 23rd October 2022
All aboard for an hour of zany madness, physical comedy, and cruise-based humour as comedian Con Coutis presents Half Steam Ahead! this Sydney Fringe Festival season. It’s a little bit sketch comedy, a little bit stand up, and a little bit pun-based humour. What’s for certain is, Half Steam Ahead! is a frenetic hour of comedy where you won’t know what to expect next.
Welcome aboard the world of the cruise ship, staffed, operated, and inhabited solely by comedian Con Coutis as he uses voiceovers to conjure up a realm of possibilities. The performance begins with Coutis laying out the premise of the show, warming up his audience and subtly holding the magic-wand-like clicker that secretively operates the gags and invisible voices throughout. Before long, Coutis’ physical comedy prowess explodes into the show as we’re taken on an action-packed chase scene to catch the cruise ship on which Coutis is to perform on. There are motorcycles, passers by shoved into the sea, large jumps and a Tom Cruise-esque climb onto the vessel.
Coutis masterfully demonstrates his physical comedy skills throughout. A slight eyebrow raise, a knowing turn of the head, a scurrying of gerbils, the explosion of an ancient god, it’s all there for us to switch on our childlike sense of wonder. There is a sense of Jim Carrey about Coutis, whether he is aware of this or not, which ultimately helps to ground the humour which Half Steam Ahead! employs.
Throughout the sketch comedy, Coutis presents his stand-up routine filled with puns and questions about the role of gluten inspectors. Not all the jokes land in these stiller moments and could be developed to build the laughter and carry us through the next set of physical gags.
It’s a unique and classic style of comedy that is always a hit. Coutis knows this and revels in the lengths to which his imagination can go and takes you along for the ride, whether you’re ready or not. So, pack your best Hawaiian shirts the next time this ship rolls around and trust in Con Coutis to take you onto a cruise like you’ve never seen it before.
You can find our more about Con Coutis by following him on Instagram @con_coutis
Tickets for the Melbourne season of Half Steam Ahead! can be booked at melbournefringe.com.au
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