He may be local, but Jason Chong has certainly raised the bar when it comes to comedy at a higher level of production. ‘Reel Life’ sees Chong stand before, beside and within a projection screen as he sets out to stop an evil version of himself creating havoc around town.
After taking delivery of a giant novelty remote control, Chong becomes torn between his good and bad conscious until the devilish latter of the two runs off with the gadget and begins causing trouble. It’s here that events really get going and the protagonist’s usually good spirited stand up skills and geekish references are evenly played out alongside his nastier nemesis’ prankish reign of terror, possibly providing Chong with a perfectly valid outlet for taking his oft-close to the edge brand of humour that little bit further.
As the story unfolds, we’re drawn deeper into the matrix as Chong interacts with a domineering paperclip assistant and forms a cloned boy band that performs covers using ‘body part’ a cappella, as well as displaying some hilarious sandwich board interludes and foregoing some degree of dignity that culminates in the inevitable final battle. Requiring exact synchronised timing and a whole lot of ambition, ‘Reel Life’ is a multi-media experience like no other and one that doesn’t just rely technical gimmickry.
Despite its sometimes disjointed stand up basis, the story as a whole is solid enough to resonate far beyond its ongoing frivolity, and Chong is clearly relishing in his own cleverness and the immediate reaction and awe shown by his audience. And rightly so, this show is bound to be one of the hits of this year’s Fringe Festival, and set to project Chong way beyond Adelaide.
Steve Jones, 17th February 2010