A one-man open mic night!

By Narelle Wood

Set in the iconic San Diego coffeehouse Java Joe’s, musician and comedian Broni brings to the stage a cast of characters the typify the diversity and eclectic mix of performers on an open mic night.

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Broni plays all the characters from the host Jimmy to disgruntled employee Clare, to creepy Kenny Deez, to George, an old-timer still coming to terms with losing his dear wife Betsy. Each character has a story to tell and a song to sing that embodies their life experiences and personality. While there is a range of musical genres, including something that sounds reminiscent of Norwegian heavy metal band Lordi, most of the songs have a Country and Western lilt to them. And this seems to work, as most of the characters tend to be moaning about small annoyances rather than anything overly significant.

It is clear that Broni has a great voice and is a talented musician. The audience laughed consistently throughout and sounded like they were having a great time, but I felt like I was missing something, an in-joke that no one cared to explain. The jokes were mostly observational but I found myself more smiling in agreement than laughing out loud, which was more disappointing than usual because there is something completely endearing about Broni that made me want to find the jokes funny.

The range of characters were great but I was expecting more exaggerated personalities: all of it was just a little too close to home to be overtly funny; for instance Kenny Deez is a serious sleaze. It also didn’t help that the times Broni approached some audience members for some interaction but received very little from them saw the energy falling momentarily before he was able to turn it around.

The premise for A Night at Java Joe’s is an interesting one and certainly matched with an audience member who understands his humour, this would be a great fun performance. I would have quite happily settled back and listened to Broni play the guitar and sing all night. It’s an enjoyable show, and worth going for the music with some comedy on the side.

Venue: The Improv Conspiracy Office Space, 19 Meyers Place, Melbourne

Season: Until 3rd April, Thurs-Sat 6.45pm, Sun 5.45pm

Tickets: Full $15| Conc $10

Bookings: http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/2016/season/shows/a-night-at-java-joe-s-broni