Jon Pointing: Act Natural

★★★★
comedy review | Read in About 2 minutes
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Jon Pointing
Published 13 Aug 2017

Character comedy requires a clarity of vision and commitment to performance to be sustained throughout its duration. That's exactly the kind of overcomplicated analysis Jon Pointing's alter ego—the acting coach Cayden Hunter—might spout as he delivers this performance workshop. Right from his entrance, with his faux modesty, Hunter is astutely realised in an embodiement that marks Pointing out as a remarkable character actor. I've not encountered such precision in skewering the absurdities of an individual's behaviour and psychology for quite some time.

It's all in the facial gestures, the movement around the stage and in that particular way that theatrical types use the pretence of bonhomie as a way to shine the spotlight on themselves. Hunter's improvisation with a chair is a beautifully formulated piece of absurdity. There's not really any jokes here. Instead this is a very funny show because it is so very precise. At one point Hunter demonstrates the "truth" actors seek by reenacting his life story, including his birth. It crystallises acutely bombastic physical performance whose supposed profundity is actually nothing more than overbearing theatricality.

What's more impressive is the lack of easy gags. Hunter repeatedly letches after a female audience member, and when she's called up on stage there's a fear all this might collapse into simplistic humiliation. But it is Hunter who is himself later humiliated, in a startling moment that is wordless. This is a majestic hour of sustained performance from Pointing. For a Fringe debut, it's astonishing.