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Review - Bigger & Blacker: deeper than just laughs and swagger

By Nahima Kern

Bigger & Blacker

Written by Steven Oliver

Directed by Isaac Drandic

La Boite

Roundhouse Theatre

QUT Kelvin Grove


Season: runs until March 27. Duration: 60 minutes without interval. Bookings:

Bigger & Blacker is one of those shows that seems funny and fabulous on the surface but runs much deeper than just laughs and shimmying swagger. Steven Oliver invited the audience of La Boite’s Roundhouse Theatre into his life, soul, and heart last night at the opening of his original cabaret.

Known for his fabulous characters in the 2014 hit sketch series Black Comedy, Steven has been riding high on his successes but beneath it all lies a sadness that comes with fame, the price paid for being at the top of the comedy chain. In this candid and touching work, Steven explored this sadness at being essentially viewed as the eternal funny man with no room to grieve or express any other emotion than ones that made people around him laugh.

Touching on this, Steven took the audience in hand for a rollercoaster of emotion, into the heights and depths of his life. It was delicately handled with a touch of authenticity and rawness that hooked the audience in. Of course, there were moments of fun and laughs, but what was taken away from the show was more than just good humour.

We all became a friend of Steven’s in that sixty-minute time frame. Accompanied by Michael Griffiths with his gifted piano playing and spicy banter with Steven, Bigger & Blacker had the audience laughing at times, tapping toes at times, and moved into a reverent silence in moments that really dug deep into the core of what makes a performer and the person that stands behind the mask.

Steven knows how to work a crowd into submission, and when the serious moments were over, the whole room sparkled with a wonderful resonant energy.

By the end of the night, everyone had been roped into singing along, or clapping along to the songs and raps laid out by Steven and Michael. By the end of the night, the audience was left with more than just a funny man cracking jokes and singing original material. Bigger & Blacker is the authentic experience you need to see. Come and have a laugh, a sing and even a cry. You won’t regret it.