Perth comedian Colin Ebsworth, throughout his burgeoning stand-up career, has had a string of overwhelming experiences. At just 23, he has gone from strength to strength across the country. Delivering his refreshing, in-your-face style of comedy, he returns to Perth’s Fringe World festival – following up sell-out, award nominated shows Western Devil and First Blood: Parts I and II – with his best hour of hilarity yet.
Performing at some of Australia’s biggest stand-up events, and touring with the likes of Claire Hooper, Ebsworth’s enthusiasm and work ethic come off in spades. His latest set hits home; providing a modest, relatable look at early-20s existence.
Opening act Sean Conway, fresh off his latest act Rock ‘N’ Rolla, perfectly got the ball rolling on Neato Burrito’s opening night. Conway, with an impressive beard and bellowing voice, fits the mould of top Aussie bloke. His set revelled in Perth’s don’t-care spirit, poking fun at the never-ending feud between the Eagles and Dockers, Spudshed owner Tony Galati’s trouble with the establishment, and the bogan’s obsession with drugs. Breaking down a stint with steroids, his brief appearance left us wanting more.
Inside Fringe’s Deluxe venue, the audience sweltered in close-knit conditions. Ebsworth stormed onto the stage to thunderous applause from the overwhelming crowd. The comic hit the ground running, launching into self-effacing material about his appearance. Referring to his “Disney villain” face, the friendly, neighbourhood performer pulled the audience into his unique worldview.
Like preceding shows, he called Australia’s bogan-driven culture into question. Ripping apart rat-tails, neck-tattoos, and AFL, his scathing opinions hit the nail on the head. His material ascends to even greater scrutiny, tearing apart the concept of E-Plates on work vehicles for ‘troubled’ drivers. His wrath against Australia delves into very dark waters, highlighting the ridiculousness of our inherent xenophobia and lackadaisical treatment of crime.
Like his preceding Fringe World performances, Ebsworth’s quick wit, rollicking pace, and likeable stage presence stand tall. His observational notes touch on the public’s biggest pet peeves, with vegans, burlesque, pop-up advertisements, and professional DJs are obliterated by the comic’s dark, edgy comments. The audience wandered into the firing line, with the front row chock-a-block with under-18s and half-drunk 40-year-olds.
Neato Burrito, essentially, resembles a workshop for Ebsworth to test new material, launch into inspired impressions, and gauge audience sensitivity. The light-hearted larrikin immediately picked up the vibe, acknowledging which gags landed better than others. Brushing aside muted reactions and loud heckles; his self-awareness keeps his confidence in check.
Ebsworth’s set provides a unique, heartfelt insight into his professional and personal lives. His routine puts a contemporary twist on relationship material, discussing the varying difficulties of the age gap in the shallow-gossip age. He is aware of their demographic, tearing down everything to do with the first break up, the in-laws, and the relationship’s many perplexing highs and lows. Similarly, his commentary/advice on men and women – gay and straight – rings with a hint of optimism.
Ebsworth reflects upon his childhood and the young-adult phase, aptly describing life in Perth for anyone between 4 and 26 years. From his parents’ yin-yang dynamic to his friends’ unhelpful relationship advice, the comedian’s paints a shockingly relatable and explicit picture of his coming of age. His standout material talked about the bliss of primary school, vividly comparing the classroom politics to gangland warfare and lunchtime in the playground to Shawshank Redemption.
Neato Burrito is one of Fringe World’s gems – an honest, hysterical, and haunting insight into Perth’s best and worst individuals, groups, and cultural touchstones.