There are three things Matt Okine and I have in common: disrespect for Tapas, the desire to be rich, and bewilderment at the discovery that the numbers on a toaster dial represent minutes rather than an intensity of heat. Whatever your eccentricities, Matt Okine will tap into them – the new Australian comedian from Queensland has a great talent in seeking out the bizarre in all of us.
Okine moved swiftly between two main stories, one recounting the capture of a female underage crab and the other explicitly describing the escapades of an ex-teacher, who will go unnamed to keep the young comedian free of any charges. While the title declares Okine’s love for chicken, it was his occupation with seafood that provided the majority of his material. His musings on seafood – ranging from the “impending doom” instilled by a 1cm jellyfish to the suggestion that beached whales are in fact the bullies of the sea, and saving them a disservice to other sea life – were funny and imaginative, and all told with the same sense of puzzled amusement. This fuelled the audience’s affections for him, the obscure in each of us warming to Okine as he confirmed the mutual ineptidude of humanity.
While I don’t want to give away too much of the content, this show passes one of the first tests of good comedy – I’ve already passed off a couple of his jokes as my own. Many times, I found myself laughing longer than the joke alone might have merited, Okine’s stories triggering memories of my own experiences. This was particularly true in his discussion of his experiences in a chicken shop, when I was vividly reminded of a waitress pouring my tea before realising there was no mug on the table. Okine’s show, Being Black and Chicken and S#%T, captures those moments where we all look up, mouth agape, and just wonder how on earth that just that happened.
For confirmation that somebody else shares the same quirks you do, catch Matt Okine while you can. Soho Theatre is his first gig in London and as he grows in confidence, I doubt it will be long before bigger and better things. Definitely one to watch.
Matt Okine: Being Black and Chicken and S#%T is playing at Soho Theatre until 26 August. For more information and tickets, see the Soho Theatre website.