TOM Gleeson eyes his audience and smiling broadly delivers a deprecating remark about Midland true to the form he executes so effortlessly in his ABC TV segment Hard Chat and game show Hard Quiz.
After playing to sold-out audiences at Perth’s Fringe World Festival in February, he had clearly hoped for a bigger crowd on the opening night of Midlandia, the first of his two-night show Cheer Up.
He graciously thanked those who came along and asked people to spread word of the urban circus and comedy festival, a standalone showcase of big-name acts and no longer part of Fringe.
Gleeson did not have to work too hard to keep his punters onside after enjoying early banter with City of Swan Councillor Darryl Trease and his wife Ann.
Clearly at home, he settled into the role of stand-up comedian for the night with little need for his trademark comebacks only the brave or foolhardy heckler would dare to invite.
That left more time to tell stories of his life, reflect on the State Election result and his dislike of the first-ever female member of The Wiggles because after all “wiggling is a man’s job”.
An hour in the company of Gleeson is jaw-achingly funny as he moves from white good woes to advice on investment properties, and shares his frustration over his daughter’s kindy teacher and a certain development check.
His daughter achieved a result of 97 per cent and Gleeson expresses his delight in saying “an apple doesn’t fall far from the f***ing tree”.
“I tell stories for a living; I don’t tell the audience they have development problems,” he tells his appreciative audience.
Talking about everyday life comes easily to Gleeson, who chose entertainment as his career path soon after graduating in mathematics and physics from the University of Sydney.
His mid-life wonderings are instantly relatable and towards the end of the night, he invites the audience to spot the lies in his mostly true stories.
Tickets for tonight’s performance of Cheer Up at Midlandia are available at www.midlandia.com.au.
When: March 23-April 2
Where: Cnr Cale St and The Crescent