In Stuart Taylor’s 2015 in Revue, the award-winning comedian is joined by Oscar Petersen – that other guy from Joe Barber, as he describes himself – and Mel Jones in a show that focuses on the “highlights, low lights and often the lack of light thanks to Eskom”. Unfamiliar with Taylor’s comedy, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but was happy to discover his quirky stage presence and a likeable personality.
Taylor introduces the show with some light-hearted humour – “I aim to work with the best in the industry but they were unavailable for December” – followed by the familiar sound of the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song, to which the trio raps their own hilarious rhymes.
The show is made up of a series of stand-ups, short sketches and songs focusing on topical issues of 2015, from interviews with Rhinos to the world’s first penis transplant, which took place in South Africa.
First up for a solo was Mel Jones. The bulk of her humour focuses on two-faced people on social media, illustrated by exaggerated body language. While I didn’t find her particularly funny, there were some enthusiastic audience members who asked Taylor to bring her back on stage during one of his performances.
He was up next, with a playful take on serious issues. He has an unassuming character that is hard not to like and interacts effortlessly with the audience. Drawing from his own experiences, as well as some of the year’s events, he tackles topics such as President Jacob Zuma, this year’s biggest fails, – or vuils, as he calls them – and has a side-splitting piece on penis donors.
As with most comedy acts, if a member of the audience leaves the room, it’s like Christmas for improvised humour. On opening night a poor soul got up to use the bathroom, only to get teased when she tried to open doors that Taylor warned her were locked. Embarrassed, she tried to hide out in a corner by the door while Taylor continued to take the mickey out of her.
Petersen is an all-round character, with remarkable storytelling ability. He changes characters seamlessly and uses hilarious facial expressions and body movements. His demonstration of the gears of drunkenness had the walls of the Baxter Concert Hall vibrating with laughter.
Out of the skits, “The Blunder Years”, performed by all three comedians, was the most amusing. The trio re-enacts scenes from their days as 15-year-olds telling stories of what they wanted to be in the future, attempting to predict technological developments and portraying some of those painfully familiar but annoying teenage tendencies.
The comedians close with an assurance that next year will be a great one, and a snarky “We bid thee voetsek”.
Stuart Taylor and Oscar Petersen were unquestionably the stars of the night. Mel Jones was a disappointment, but Stuart Taylor’s 2015 in Revue more than makes up for it in laughs. A perfect evening for those in need of some comedic relief.
Stuart Taylor’s 2015 in Revue runs at the Baxter Concert Hall until 9 January 2016