Last night I took myself to the Forum on Flinders Street to see Nick Capper's show - Standing Room Only. I was running at a dash, so arrived at the venue hot and bothered and out of breath, but looking for comedy – and comedy was certainly delivered.
Performing in an upstairs room which seems to be a sauna with pews, Capper stands before his packed audience squinting into the stage lights, performing with a style veering from Steven Wright lugubrious torpor to the frantic passion of Billy Connolly.
Seldom cracking a smile and with his halo of tight curly hair, Capper delivers his material with a dry humour which is more slowburn than raucous laughter, which is not to say that there are not moments where the audience is laughing uproariously, just that the predominant reaction is of wry smiles and knowing chuckles.
This is mostly gentle, observational humour with surreal asides and the occasional impassioned rant. Capper quickly establishes a warm rapport with his audience and has already invited us all to become a gang, roaming the streets of Melbourne, within the first five minutes of the act. It is this sort of left-field humour which makes Capper so fresh and interesting and ensures that even though some gags may not quite hit the spot there are plenty which provoke gales of laughter in the room.
His best material comes when he is riffing off observations about the world around him - such as an impromptu Elvis impersonation - rather than some of the longer story segments, and his pitches for musicals and the kids show he has written are just plain bizarre.
If you’re looking for a show which is a bit out-there in its humour and where the gags really seem to come from nowhere to knock you for six with laughter, then this is for you.