Adam KnoxThe most important thing one can say about Adam Knox is that he does not come prepared. While his show People Crying ‘Adam Knox’ as They Leap from Planes does establish that Knox is has a good stage presence and comedic potential, he just about tosses it all away every time he turns to his notebook.

And goodness, does he love that notebook. The show ground to a halt while he consulted it, so the audience quickly learnt to be patient. Still, it takes a lot of guts to get up on stage and put on a show, and Knox only appears to have been in the game for a couple of years. His debut show, All Washed Up, was well received in 2012, but none of that experience is evident here. It’s the disappointing (and I’ll allow, understandable) follow-up to a strong beginning. Nevertheless, he doesn’t help himself but being clearly under-prepared and thereby having to rely rather heavily on an under-developed ad-libbing skill. The show seems as if it just isn’t going to fly from the minute it starts.

There are other problems as well. On the plus side, the name of the show is great—it’s perfect Fringe fodder in terms of its silliness and left-of-the-middle referencing (see Geronimo). But the show doesn’t live up to the name’s potential; there’s no structure, no guiding theme, not even any consistency (aside from the notebook, of course). The jokes sometimes come rapidly, other times not at all, and there are some great opportunities for more audience interaction, but they’re a little wasted when the ad-libbing isn’t quite strong enough to take advantage of audience responses.

Knox has the onstage persona that shows he’s capable of delivering a show with potential. People Crying ‘Adam Knox’ As They Leap From Planes doesn’t do the best job of exhibiting the talent he’s shown in the past. But as long as he can get away from that dang notebook, it might just happen again.

Adam Knox is performing People Crying ‘Adam Knox’ As They Leap From Planes from 18 to 27 September at the Melbourne Fringe Festival.

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