Matt Byrne Media
Maxim’s Wine Bar
Until 17 Mar 2018

Review by Doug Phillips

“Matt Byrne’s Hott Property” is a good, fun show. It’s not highbrow, it’s not champagne comedy, and it’s not cutting edge. But that’s OK, because it’s not trying to be. It’s full of jokes designed to make you laugh. Not think, but laugh. And in this endeavour it achieves its goal. Perhaps its humour sometimes makes the inner-child in you laugh, but comedy’s ultimate goal above all else is to incite laughter. So if you’re laughing at something you’re not particularly proud of, well then that’s on you.

And laugh the audience did. With an audience made up largely of people born before 1965, it might not be for the younger Fringe-lovers. But the majority of those who saw tonight’s performance loved it.

Watching the four actors say each of their lines…in a row…one after the other…from left to right…every time…did become a little distracting. Some mixing up wouldn’t have gone astray. And some of the jokes (and sung notes) did fall a bit flat. But the subject matter was well thought out, and characters reasonably well worked.

Some of the improvised jokes didn’t quite hit the mark, but then again some did. Such is the joy and pain (for performer and audience) that is improv.

Brad Butvila had some stand-out moments where he absolutely shone. His depiction of the religious loon was very well delivered and received. His portrayal of Mike Hunt, however (yes, that joke was in the show), was energetic and boisterous, but lacking in development. He showed moments of real character completion as Terry Trott, but at other times this character could have done or been more. This I suspect this will continue to develop as the season progresses.

Amber Platten was the stand-out vocalist of the cast. She also executed excellent comic timing in moments that really gave her characters a well-rounded persona. I understand that she was asked to do this role and it’s easy to see why, as she did a good job of making each of her characters believable yet absurd at the same time.

Theresa Dolman is fun. Her performance was confident, and the enjoyment she takes with each character is obvious, and therefore fun to watch. For those who have seen Theresa before however, especially her stand-up, it may seem at times that we are seeing characters (or snippets there-of) that she has portrayed previously. But the audience loved her, and with good reason. Not many could pull off playing a wife and prostitute in separate scenes that are just seconds apart, but Theresa had the audience well within her grasp.

Matt Byrne’s ferocity and passion (as writer and actor) is both undeniable and admirable in this production. He delivers his characters with gusto and deliberate “in your face” tenacity.

The direction appeared to be lacking in areas, perhaps because he’s allowing the accompanying cast to really let loose. Again, this is something that may pull itself in tight given a few more performances.

It’s a fun show folks. If you want a laugh, but you don’t want to exercise your brain too much, then get along and see it. If you know anyone in the Real Estate Industry, buy them a ticket and bring them along. They’ll love it. I think I can see what Matt Byrne is trying to pull off with this show, and in my opinion he’s almost there. I suspect that he’ll look back at season’s end and say, “We got there”.

Rating: 3 Stars (out of 5)