MICF 2016: Simon Godfrey in DESTINY RACER

Turbo-charged comedy is a real winner

By Christine Young

With over 500 shows being staged at the 2016 Melbourne International Comedy Festival, there are bound to be many stinkers, and loads of punters who do exactly that – take a punt – and go home with a lighter pocket and a darker soul.

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This reviewer has way too many stinkers under her belt to sugar-coat anything, so let me say – attending Simon Godfrey’s Destiny Racer offers the complete opposite experience.

Godfrey is a dexterous performer who embodies around twenty characters (most of them humans) to tell the story of racing driver Jean Shaffer coming out of exile to race in the prestigious Le Mans 24-hour car race. But the car-racing world has changed and Jean struggles to accept borderline rocket-ship cars and the assurances of ‘Safety Steve’ that the spectators in the stands are adequately protected with large bales of hay.

Set in the 1950s, Destiny Racer plays with a range of cultural stereotypes and storytelling norms which is clever, funny and often downright silly. Godfrey’s ability to switch between characters (which includes accents, voice tone and mannerisms) is captivating. In fact the story itself plays second-fiddle to the diverse range of characters that are conjured up over the 50-minute show. Not to mention the eyebrows. Godfrey’s eyebrows are a force unto themselves.

My initial assumption that this show would not be my cup of tea was clearly wrong and superficial. This not-so-minor personal detail made the show all the more enjoyable. Plus it’s genuinely funny and Godfrey is the talented, multi-skilled performer that you often won’t find at the small venues during the Comedy Festival. Destiny Racer could just as easily prosper in a larger venue. Out of the more intimate comedy shows, it’s definitely worth checking out Simon Godfrey‘s excellent work, safe in the knowledge that you won’t be getting a stinker.

Where: Tuxedo Cat, 293-299 La Trobe St, Melbourne

When: Tues-Sat 7.15pm; Sun 6.15pm

Tickets: $16-$22  www.comedyfestival.com.au or Ticketmaster 1300 660 013