The acclaimed playwright, actor and writer that Claudia Winkleman once described as “simply brilliant, hysterically funny and strangely moving” took part as one of the top-of-the-bill acts in this year’s Liverpool Comedy Festival.
Coinciding with the release of his latest collection of works entitled “How Freakin’ Zeitgeist Are You?” released in April this year, Murray Lachlan Young treated the audience at the Unity Theatre to his comic and intelligent interpretations of life and his own observations through the medium of poetry.
The musical background to the evening however began before his entrance, as comedy duo Ben Mellor and Dan Steele, more commonly known as “Mellor and Steele”, took to the stage in support of the main act to showcase their own material.
The two men were like chalk and cheese when it came to on-stage persona. Ben Mellor the voice and expression for their set, whilst Mr Steele was the calm and collected figure that let his music do the talking.
The two exhibited some of their work from one of their latest endeavours called “Anthropoetry”, with Ben Mellor’s poetic words conjoined with atmospheric music from Dan Steele to bring to life a selection of words describing the important components of the human body including the brain, respiratory system and nervous system.
However, far from being simply a biological lecture, the vivid imagination along with the meticulous attention to medical detail came across for me as a very intelligent way of combining rich language and the underlying themes through each piece. This combination was a clever way of delivering their take on social and political conflict in the modern day such as environmentalism, love and pain.
Whilst thoughtful in their work, with well-spoken word from Mellor and excellent music from Steele, Mellor’s pace during his poetic delivery and rapping (yes you heard it right!) may have sometimes left the audience with a bit of catching up to do, and for those not accustomed to some of the terminology in his poetry, may have left subtle messages go missed. However, this is subjective, and I personally felt at pace with his work and certainly a true intelligence and understanding flowed throughout.
After the interval it was the turn of Murray Lachlan Young, who created an instant atmosphere of both elegance, intellect and assurance, not to mention a calm and composed comic presence. Whereas as some comedians excel and/or rely on their volume and bravado to entertain, Lachlan Young achieved that entertainment factor from the opposite end of the scale as a welcome change.
The rhythmic and vibrant tones of his work that he exhibited on the evening left no corner of society untouched by his imagination. From describing to the women of the audience the current traits of the ‘perfect man’, we also got his vision of Brad Pitt eating a Cornish Pasty; a dog driving a tractor dreaming of a daredevil escape to the Amalfi Coast, and an entertaining piece dedicated to the 2011 Yorkshire Earthquake made entirely from social media excerpts from the day it happened.
The cleverness to the comedy is that Lachlan Young delivered superb comic delivery and timing whilst putting a satirical slant on events or famous people that we could all picture and/or relate to.
There are some out there who were not there that evening that may wonder, no matter how brilliant the comedy, how poem after poem can be put together one after the other without sounding at least vaguely robotic?
Well, Lachlan Young had the answer to that riddle. His comic observations of some of our characters in life, from the rich in Kensington and Chelsea, to the working folk of times gone by (to name just two examples… some of the others are not suitable for publication!) not only bore relevance to his work, but also acted as great topics of conversation to reflect on in between his pieces.
As a result, he showed himself as a true entertainer in how he made his on-stage wit and written work ebb and flow between each other. This meant that the pace of his performance remained steady, but also held the energy of the audience.
Lachlan Young managed to combine his clearly excellent ability to write and his natural gift as a performer. There is an elegance and maturity to the comedy that he uses to his strength, and is not a type of performance that every entertainer can achieve.
Overall, a clever and witty interpretation of the hilarious people of our world, from the famous reaching all the way around the social chain. The poetic interventions of his views on the world gave Lachlan Young’s performance a different twist that was both refreshing and effective.
Reviewer: Robert Pritchard
Reviewed: 27th September 2017
North West End Rating: ★★★★