- An eye for Pitcher-perfect comedy - Live review Melbourne Comedy Festival 2009
An eye for Pitcher-perfect comedy
April 28, 2009
"When it works, it's funnier than anything I've written...Al Pitcher. "
When the comedian Al Pitcher came up with an idea for a new show, he hadn't figured on over-zealous law enforcement officers cramping his style.
For The Al Pitcher Picture Show, the New Zealander would take digital photographs around the city in which he was performing, then present them as a comic slideshow that night, musing on everything from odd signs to local landmarks and encouraging the audience to join in the conversation.
It seemed the perfect way to capitalise on his talent for expanding on random thoughts and impromptu audience interactions.
"My first ever go at the show, I took a photo inside a railway station. A guy came over and said, 'You can't do that because of council bylaws,"' Pitcher recalls.
"I apologised and said I'd delete it but I didn't know how to work the camera. Here's me fumbling with this camera, looking worse and worse, until he took the camera off me and deleted it."
Another time he was stopped and questioned by a policewoman in Carlisle, northern England. "There was a place called Bank Street and you won't guess what was down there - three or four banks.
"I took the photo thinking these people really need to get more imaginative about their street signs. But someone thought I was casing the joint."
After a successful season in Melbourne, Pitcher brings his show to Sydney tonight as part of the Sydney Comedy Festival.
He takes about 50 to 60 photos for each show, looking for the unusual, the whimsical and the ordinary.
"It can be anything - I took a photo of a shop yesterday and it had a sign saying '2009 diaries now in'. Well, they haven't missed the boat, have they?"
Part of his aim is to help people notice their surroundings more: "Every day, we miss so many moments. It's about just opening your eyes. I've had people come up and say, 'I walk past that every day and never notice that.' This is what the show is all about."
The show's improvised nature means there is no way of knowing how an audience will react, but Pitcher relishes that risk.
"I get excited and know a picture is coming up and click it and there's silence. But the great thing is, if it doesn't work you can click straight onto the next one.
"When it works, it's funnier than anything I've ever written. When it doesn't work, it's a slightly overweight ginger bloke showing holiday snaps."
The Al Pitcher Picture Show is at the Factory Theatre, Enmore, from tonight until May 9.