Melbourne Town Hall - Cloak Room
April 2 until 26, Tuesday-Saturday, 8.15pm, Sunday 7.15pm,
NEW YORKER Jamie Kilstein conducts a one-man war against the American Religious Right in this sincere, sometimes strident stand-up show. His loosely delivered, occasionally meandering routines about gays in the military, the funeral-picketing habits of the Westboro Baptist Church, and the political career of former Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin suffer when Kilstein has to pause and provide the back-story to his US-centric material; although the punchlines, when they come, are strong.
Kilstein's funniest, most audacious material is saved for religious extremism. Fundamentalist Mormons, Islamicists, and God-fearing survivors of September 11 all cop a serve, although a new joke about the pro-Israel stance of left-leaning US politicians fell flat on Saturday night, prompting Kilstein to joke that it would probably be dropped from his show by Tuesday.
Kilstein is an earnest and engaging performer - the Richard Dawkins of stand-up - but in this post-Obama world his material already feels slightly dated.This review first appeared in The Age online on Tuesday April 7.