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Adelaide Fringe '18 Review: Dave Hughes - The Snorkeler


Adelaide Fringe '18 Review: Dave Hughes - The Snorkeler

Paul Maland

Hughesy is back at it with another show packed with laughs and a solid set of middle-of-the road observational comedy. 


Faced with a middle-child who has all the answers, while entering the middle-age bracket of life, Hughesy's "Snorkeler" set is a relaxed but expert piss-take explanation of what it's like trying to keep head above water — even if a live-stream of your head gets left behind on the floor, on your daughter's iPad

On the first night of Hughesy's 2018 Adelaide Fringe run, the sold-out audience was a "great crowd," Hughesy complimented, before a bit of improvisation, and repeatedly reminding them that he's pumped to be here.

A quick intrusion from a motorcycle outside ("Oh, there's a bikie out there,") and it was straight into the observations, starting with, quite rightly, how noisy today's world is.

Hughesy's self-awareness, and self-deprecation, is a strong highlight of the set. Honestly, anyone brave enough to buy real-estate based on the fairings of a property-based reality television show deserves at least the time and platform to provide an explanation.  

Coming to terms with the contradiction of being a man plastered all over TV and radio, yet nameless to members of the local community—including, apparently, the bouncers at The Garden of Unearthly Delights — Hughesy's shortcomings are embraced to the full extent, even when called a loser by his own family.

As millions of Australians begin to turn their TV sets off and move with the times, it's either having his name yelled in the street by meth-smoking St Kilda fans, or blank, vague recognition and confusion for Dave Hughes in 2018. 

"...I'm Hughesy!" he whimpers optimistically, with the crowd in hysterics.

The show earns an easy four stars, and that's made clear by the other four stars of the show: Hughesy's wife, and three kids. The show's main strength is in Hughesy coming to terms with his occasional lack of identity, and entering into middle-age, something commonplace with comedians who've shared the limelight since the 1990s. 

For those who've caught the comedy stylings of David Hughes before, be it at a buck's party or otherwise, you'll find only a few bits of recycled material, and all used expertly for punctuation into a well crafted set.

Going into the show, I was cautiously optimistic. I wondered, will I get the footy jokes? Do you need to watch TV to get what he's talking about? 

If you're apprehensive about not being down with commercial television enough to appreciate the flavour of comedy, don't be — no-one's watching Hughesy on TV anyway, as he'll explain.

Like one Adelaide punter last year, you may even think you'll be crucified for enjoying Dave Hughes—well, things are about to get biblical; Hughesy's only one show in, and you'd have to pop an ecstasy pill and dye your hair to feel as pumped as he is about what's sure to be another season of sold-out crowds. 

"If you're gonna look like me, you better start being funny, quickly," he explains to his son. Dave Hughes is a walking caricature, and he knows it.


You can catch Hughesy's show, The Snorkeler, at The Vagabond at The Garden of Unearthly Delights until March 3rd.