Bringing remarkable laughs from dark places
By Christine Young
There’s a winsome innocence and softness in the expression on Corey White’s face in the promotional photo for The Cane Toad Effect. White’s innocence and trust were torn away from him multiple times as a child but he hasn’t lost his sense of humour or his soft edge. He is fresh-faced and positive for someone who has every reason to be bitter and jaded.
The premise of The Cane Toad Effect is that, like the introduction of cane toads to far north Queensland, there have been unintended consequences of his upbringing. White talks about his childhood with a Dad who’s a violent criminal; a Mum who’s addicted to heroin; and being abused while living with a foster family. That’s not even the half of it.
Sounds like a real laugh-a-minute, doesn’t it? It actually is.
White maintains a steady balance between the shades of dark and light in his material. He gets it. People are there to laugh and he manages to find the humorous side in situations that are otherwise inherently sad and awful.
White has created a well thought-out and structured show that plays for laughs but also has some sombre moments. There was one moment where I had tears in my eyes and then seconds later I was giggling again.
There is great skill in being able to tell stories with just the right amount of pathos and humour. White’s honesty is refreshing and gives his stories depth and substance.
Sometimes the humour is quite dark. However, in such a dense show, there were only a couple of punchlines that were received with silence.
White’s show offers an important insight into the state of state care and the ongoing physical and mental consequences of childhood neglect and trauma.
And amazingly it still delivers lots of laughs.
Where: Forum Theatre (downstairs), Corner of Russell and Flinders Streets, Melbourne
When: Until Sat. 16 April at 7pm; final show at 6pm on Sunday 17 April
Tickets: $20-$30 www.comedyfestival.com.au or Ticketmaster 1300 660 013