By Suzanne Tate
Paul McDermott’s show Plus One: Blood Orange at the Brunswick Ballroom is 90 minutes of hilariously irreverent comedy and music. I’m sure many of the audience had been fans since his Doug Anthony All Star days (he did make some digs about the age of the audience…), but for me, the appeal has always been his amazing singing voice over his comedy. To be honest, I never found D.A.A.S particularly funny but loved watching the weekend edition of Good News Week, as it always ended with a vocal performance from McDermott. While the focus of Blood Orange is undoubtedly the comedy, McDermott and his plus one, guitarist Glenn Moorhouse (otherwise known as Cocaine Bear) share their vitriolic wit through their music, so I was looking forward to once more hearing him sing. While the music was written for comedic impact rather than to showcase his voice, it was clear that McDermott has lost none of his impressive vocal talent.
The MICF website describes the show as the “next instalment of the COVID Suite, a conceptual odyssey chronicling (through comedy, song and liturgical dance) the downfall of civilisation “, that “critiques contemporary society”. While I don’t think ‘liturgical’ quite describes the choreography (think Peter Allen, rather than religious mystics), the description is pretty accurate. Subject matter jumped around a lot but stayed fairly focused on highly publicised features of contemporary society, such as the downward slide of Britain and its Royal Family (with a suggestion for a surprising replacement), and a ‘balanced’ look at the FBI raid on Trump’s Florida residence, Mar-a-Lago. Fair warning – this is not a show for Royalists or Trump fans! The show then made a surprising direction change, much to the appreciate of the female part of the audience, with two songs focused on feminine power. They specifically related to women’s’ monthly period, and McDermott has clearly learned to be both wary and appreciative of the resulting feminine hormonal surge! It was somewhat refreshing to see two male performers advocating for acceptance and understanding of this topic, even if some listeners may have assumed it was sarcasm. Finally, the show ended with a very well received song written recently, and expressly for Melbournite’s; ‘Hands Off the Trans Kids’.
McDermott’s comedy is liberally sprinkled with the F-Bomb and as promised in the advertising, ‘dark laughs and cruel humour’. His cutting views on certain public events and personalities were not kind but were hilarious. And if that’s not your cup of tea, well, as the promotional material clearly states, “If you’re not going to enjoy it – stay the f*%k away!”