The gorgeous Spiegeltent in the Garden of Unearthly Delights was packed to capacity with a sold-out crowd and it was not disappointed by his affably hilarious brand of self-deprecating humour.
It’s always a bit strange seeing a comedian live whom you are used to watching on the small screen in shows such as The Project, The Footy Show and Rove. But this was Helliar back in what seems his natural environment.
His material was tight and felt fresh, and he had the audience on side within minutes.
In Adelaide, there’s often that awkwardness at the beginning of a comedy set when the stand-up breaks the ice with a few local references. Helliar breezed through it, managing to be charming and avoid all the clichéd Adelaide jokes.
Having won us over, he swiftly moved on to the main body of his well-constructed set, using the fact that he’d recently turned 40 as the backbone.
His subjects ranged from family, sex and pilates to technology in our swiftly changing world. He deftly avoided anything political, giving issues such as same-sex marriage, trans-gender and cultural diversity a quick mention but otherwise keeping solidly to material designed to have broad appeal.
One of the most likeable qualities of Helliar’s work is that if he ever resorts to nastiness, it is always self-directed. He avoids the cheap shot and makes his comedy seem effortlessly inclusive.
Helliar plays the affable everyman brilliantly and last night his audience loved him for it.
Peter Helliar is performing in The Spiegeltent in the Garden of Unearthly Delights again on February 19 and 20 and March 7.
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