By Susanna Mulvihill
Abandoman is having a party and everyone is invited. A word of warning though, there are no spectators at a party, only guests. On the way in everyone is given a name-tag (Abandoman has so many friends that he couldn’t possibly remember all their names) and every guest is asked to bring a special item in their pocket to get the party going. There’s no need to worry however, Abandoman is an excellent host, making all feel welcome in this show which breathes new life into a sometimes tired improvised musical comedy genre.
After supporting Ed Sheeran on tour, winning ‘Best Comedy Newcomer’ at the Adelaide Fringe, Abandoman (Rob Broderick), accompanied on stage by a small synth, guitar and vocal processor, meets his audience with fist bumps before building a set of rap songs tailored specifically to them. Ingeniously he creates a narrative that flows through the songs for the entire hour from suggestions from the crowd, and by the end he’s developed a full story that everyone has been a part of. Occasional disco lights sweep the crowd to add to the party atmosphere. His vocal dexterity is superb – anyone who manages to find a rhyme to ‘Muscular Dystrophy’ off the cuff can’t fail to impress. The songs start from basic introductions, moving to a party (tonight being held, apparently, by Charlie, an English Lit and American Studies student) where the most unlikely people are present, and on through more themes until an Epilogue rounds off the performance. While the rap tunes can get a bit tired after a while, the real comedy lies in Broderick’s interaction with his audience. His easy smile and banter, even with the most unwilling punter, is charming and naturally witty. Tissues, Ibuprofen and even an Epi-pen, unlikely as it sounds, prove to be excellent crowd-sourced props. Chocolate, scaffolding and Gone With The Wind all feature to the delight of everyone present.
A show like this depends entirely on who shows up on the night. Get an evening with a gregarious crowd and it will be a surreal dose of hysteria. Get an audience who are a bit more self-conscious, like tonight, and Broderick will have to work quite hard to carry the piece, but he showed he is more than capable of it. If you like improvisation and Eminem then you will adore Abandoman. He is extremely personable and with talent like this is very likely someone you will be seeing everywhere in the future.