2013 Melbourne International Comedy Festival:
• Michael Workman in Ave Loretta
Posted on 05 April 2013
Michael Workman is exquisitely skilled. His comedy festival shows encapsulate things both mirthful and meaningful.
I have to admit I was nervous when he promoted his show as being “dark”. To me a dark show is one that explores violence, cruelty, and meanspiritedness, even when it’s decrying these things. Ave Loretta deals with difficult subjects, but in a way that ultimately celebrates life. I don’t call that dark: challenging perhaps, moving definitely, but not dark.
Ave Loretta is about Workman returning to the small town where he grew up and where he discovered his first love, Loretta. While at the grave of his dead lover he reminisces about the joy and wonder of that relationship. He couches this work in poetic language, punctuated by the odd silly simile, and includes a liberal sprinkling of cartoons and standup. The mad thing is, he gets it to work.
One of my favourite moments was when he spoke of Loretta’s birthday one year. To celebrate they went out in the evening to watch the sparks from a railgrinder passing through town. His description gave this scene such a sense of beauty and wonder. He then swings out into humorous irony such as his jokes about cleaning drains. Just remember when he is telling them, he did buy the dolphin safe cleaner.
Every Michael Workman show I have seen has been extraordinary and Ave Loretta is no exception. It’s a deeply moving show. Some people in the audience were crying at moments, but at many more they were laughing loudly and joyously. This is not a dark show, this is a show of light.
Peace and kindness,