Oliver Coleman’s Neon: Delightfully chaotic, fearfully unpredictable

Get the latest from Beat


Oliver Coleman’s Neon: Delightfully chaotic, fearfully unpredictable

Neon Oliver Coleman

An absolute madcap show, Neon is intentionally tense and extremely clever.

This is one of those shows where a spoiler-free review is virtually impossible. It’s best to go in blind, because not knowing what the show is about is half the joy of the performance. It’s an absolute delight and unlike any other stand-up show I’ve ever seen – check it out if you haven’t seen it – before reading any further. 

Check out Melbourne’s latest stage shows and theatrical events here.

A show where everything that could possibly go wrong does, Neon is a fantastic breakdown of the craft of theatre. Opening on an empty stage, there is an uncomfortably long pause before Oliver pokes his head out from behind the curtain. There was supposed to be an audio cue, why isn’t his audio working, he had some really good things planned, why are the audience making fun of him – for the first five or ten minutes of the show, it really does seem like you’re watching a man unravel at how badly his show is going. It took me ages before the penny finally dropped – this is the show.

Oliver Coleman’s deep knowledge of the art form is evident in his performance. Combining humour, drama and suspense into one unforgettable package, he masterfully suspends the audience in gripping tension. Every other show I’ve seen at the comedy festival has had some tech issues, so the conceit of the show isn’t far fetched at all. 

Coleman’s performance is a must-see. He lambasts the craft of theatre and those who make it, but his critique is delivered with humour and wit. What makes Neon so unexpected is its ability to keep the audience guessing. Coleman’s chaotic performance is full of surprises, twists and stunts that will keep you on the edge of your seat. It even ends up being surprisingly and paradoxically poetic towards the end.

Neon is an unexpected delight. Showcasing Oliver Coleman’s incredible talent as a performer and his deep understanding of the craft of theatre, this is one of the festival’s standout, underground performances.

Grab tickets here.