Freelance writer Meghan Lodwick writes…

I was alone which was perhaps a problem as I may have thrown off the act. But did I? The performer did, after all seem a tab bit amateur.

This is the problem when attending Melbourne Fringe, anyone can enter, anyone at all, as long as you have a story that can captivate, well, someone. But not I in the case of Welcome to Thonnet, Martin Blum’s performance was unfunny and uncomfortable.

Upstairs at Errol’s Cafe in North Melbourne the stage was small, on no elevation, and the lighting was made so Blum could look into each of the audience’s eyes. Awkward, why yes it was, I smiled out of tact and ended up looking at the floor to avoid feeling bad every time a bead of sweat slid down Blum’s glistening forehead.

He bumbled around slipping into stand-up, singing and then reading from the latest novel as 17-year old teenage fiction author Ray Living. Blum should have stuck to his character Living as he was a far more interesting a bloke than the actor.

The unpublished book, held thoughtfully by Blum as he read with perfect diction, chronicled the life of a boy who had found himself in a life of porn. An interesting but controversial subject which explained why throughout the show Blum kept asking the audience if any of us were publishers, two birds one stone right?

I was fascinated—albeit it was a rather graphic tale with many, many adjectives describing the protagonist’s encounters with an industry that sells sex— it was engaging in a similar way that two girls and one cup captivated internet audiences around the world.

I must say it was refreshing to hear such explicit language on an open stage as it was certainly unexpected, but when Blum paused the read and used irrelevant props and an offbeat rendition of Green Day’s ‘Good Riddance (time of your life)’ to fill in the time, he became increasingly nervous and stopped making sense.

Blum admitted the show could use some work, an interesting tactic mid-performance. He had in place a glass jar, paper and pencils for anyone to make a suggestion on how he could improve, although I was tempted I didn’t know where to begin at the time.

But I think I have it now: Take a deep breath, pull out the pen and paper and start again.

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