Comedian, writer & Filmmaker

Jason Chong's Reel Life – Buzzcuts Review

Packed with channels of high-definition humour and guaranteed to receive a great reception at this year’s Fringe Festival, Jason Chong’s Reel Life is the digital upgrade to analogue comedy.

He may be a bit of a techno geek, but it’s hard not to be charmed by the talented young Adelaide comedian – who proudly bears a shirt that confesses his love for his parents – as he cleverly interacts with a digitized universe being projected onto a three metre wide display situated onstage.

The show unassumingly kicks off with a typical stand-up routine, but before Chong can reach any sort of punch line, he is interrupted on-screen by the much reviled Paperclip help feature from Microsoft Office. Does the winner of 2009s Adelaide Comedian of the Year need help telling a joke? Certainly not.

Things go from funny to slap-the-skin-off-your-knees hilarious as Chong must put his routine on hold after his shoulder devil is accidently let loose within the digital world projected behind him. The imagination soars as we’re taken on a madcap journey through a collection of pop-culture sight and sound gags – from Super Mario to Star Wars – where Chong sets out to bring an end to his evil alter ego’s reign of terror.

Considerably well rehearsed, the comedian uses near-perfect timing and swift slight-of-hand to interact with his ‘reel world’, literally pulling objects out of the screen, conversing seamlessly with — and even singing karaoke alongside – a number of digital selves. It’s terrifically done and highly enjoyable to watch even when it’s not probing for laughs.

Such novelty value helps when the occasional joke targets too niche an audience, the greatest beneficiaries of Chong’s goofy sense of humour being movie buffs, TV junkies and square-eyed video gamers. As the comedian jokingly remarked early on when he noticed a young girl sitting in the front row, bringing the kids along to this show is “bad parenting”.

There were a few occasions where Chong did mistime his entrance or misalign himself relative to the screen, but such minor hiccups can only be expected in the sweltering heat of the cosy Hive pavilion. Come next year’s Fringe, here’s hoping Chong will be dealt a bigger venue to give his energetic stage antics more room. Not to mention allow for the sizeable audience he deserves.

Jason Chong’s Reel Life may have its fair share of retro pop-culture references and endearingly amateurish digital effects, but make no mistake: this is cutting edge comedy from one of Adelaide’s finest.

Anders Wotzke – 22nd February 2010

Original article: http://www.expressmedia.org.au/buzzcuts.php?buzz_review_id=439

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