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.

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.

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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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Jess
Singapore

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