Performed by Sam Wade
The Factory Theatre, Marrickville
Reviewed by Ron Lee, CSP
The Sydney Comedy Festival is under way so we have the opportunity of experiencing some of the finest Australian talents. Century Venues have almost taken over the entire comedy scene in Sydney and are doing an excellent job of promoting local talent as well as some overseas-based acts.
On my first night there were twelve acts on at The Factory Theatre alone and a multitude more at the numerous other venues.
The first I saw was Sam Wade, a.k.a. “Shark Jesus” in his show, Mind Cave. Because he’s virtually unknown, his show was staged in a converted shipping container that was configured perfectly for a more intimate audience. There wasn’t a bad seat in the house and it ideally facilitated Wade’s interactive style. Some comedy audience members avoid sitting in the front row for fear of being singled out, but Wade doesn’t put anyone down and he momentarily observes the world from the perspectives of the people with whom he chats and amplifies them.
Sporting a burgundy velvet jacket, pocket handkerchief and facial hair reminiscent of The Three Musketeers, Wade described himself as looking like the third-born of a wealthy family. His self-consciousness is appealing. With a background in acting, he performed some interesting characterisations of animals that have social and political perspectives and a sleazy salesman named Bevan.
I will sometimes gauge a show by the number of times that I glance at my watch. The only time was at the end, “What? It’s already over?”
Wade is a deep, intelligent, perceptive, lateral thinker who keeps the audience engaged and is far more talented than many household-name comedians who fill large rooms.
Having a thirty-five-year long professional association with stand-up comedy, I’ve been accused by some comedians of being a tough, cynical and hard-to-please audience, but after seeing Sam Wade’s performance, I was reminded of the words of former wrestler, wrestling commentator and Governor of Minnesota, Jesse “The Body” Ventura, who said, “I’m impressed, and I don’t impress easy”.