It was a reflective Greg Fleet who took to the stage, looking by all accounts to hold the weight and weariness that comes with his years of stand-up combined with hard living.

The theme for his show this year was one of Heroes – strangely forgoing a superhero costume, or even a Superman t-shirt, Fleet stood before his audience in the foreboding Melbourne Town Hall council chambers like a man on trial.

Everyone is capable of being a hero, says Fleet – not that the promised tales from the audience, fortunately, ever eventuates – as he proceeds to sit, backlit and hunched, donning the character of a struggling, mediocre superhero for a lengthy dramatic monologue.

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Just as you could be forgiven for thinking this was a play,  Fleet snaps out of character, walks to centre stage, and starts to tell stories.

This is how Fleet’s show progressed. Tales from his life selectively cribbed from previous shows that can vaguely fit the heroic theme (finding a large spider in his underpants in the middle of St Kilda, while a great story, was a stretch), bridged by dramatic narratives.

While the two styles on display were initially a bit jarring together, it at least kept them interesting. Without them (and even with them) it seems like Fleety struggled a bit with the show length. Some of the jokes didn’t seem to hold their age well, and languished with taking too much time to set up – for regular Fleety fans this wasn’t a problem, they already knew what was coming.

While not the strongest show he’s done, any time watching Fleet on stage is time well spent. His unconventional superhero twist was a risky, but rewarding addition to the show this year. His stories, a welcome old friend.

Greg Fleet in Heroes is on at the Melbourne Town Hall, Tuesday to Saturday  at 9:30pm, Sundays at 8:30pm, until 22nd April.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief
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