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The silliest of billies: a review of Jack Savage at the 2017 Sydney Fringe Festival

"Experimental, unique and utterly delightful, it was a show that I was honestly sad to leave."

The Oxford dictionary has no definition of a “Silly Billy.” It has not been covered by historians, philosophers or even theologists and thus, it remains one of society’s greatest mysteries.

However, in his debut show and in the span of 1.5 hours, Jack Savage shows you exactly what a Silly Billy is. From the beginning, you are aware that this is not going to be your run-of-the-mill comedy show at the fringe festival. Entering the intimate shipping container that is The Terminal at the Factory Theatre, you are greeted by Jack as he tells you that he saved seats for you. He then asks audience members to build a castle out of notebooks for Little Sweet Boy Prince, a small paper drawing, before he knocks it down in shame. From there, you are taken on a journey of Swedish champagne, wild horses and sex filled Spanish gap years.

The variety of comedy modes, from sketches to stories to multimedia acts, was structured perfectly, constantly leaving the audience on their toes and not once slowing down. The recurring character of Jimbo, a jovial Aussie bloke with a signature hat whose entire life is to introduce the members of the fictional Crazy Town, was hilarious. His confrontation with Coin Boy, a boy who wants to fuck his coins, had me keeling over with laughter. Other highlights included a fuzzy hat that made the wearer horribly bigoted but was oh so comfortable.

What was so special about Jack’s show is how it made “nothing” funny. Some of the funniest moments were the silences between sketches or lines, gripping the audience in a moment of suspense, giggles narrating the anticipation of what the next move would be. Jack was even able to make sitting down funny as he played a character called “The Big Thinker” on a search for his next great pose.

Jack, of course, leaves the biggest moment for the end of the show. Armed with two cartons of milk, a cannister of Nesquik, a wooden spoon and a large tub, he proceeds to perform the unholy ritual of creating chocolate milk, complete with dancing audience members throwing up devil horns and Rammstein’s Du Hast. It is an experience that I will never forget, especially as I drink Oak.

For a debut show, Silly Billy is on par with any professional comedy show I have seen. Experimental, unique and utterly delightful, it was a show that I was honestly sad to leave. I look forward to Jack’s future endeavours; he’s done something that many others have failed to do — show the world what a Silly Billy is. I am goddamn thankful for it.