The translation of the word utopia, if my Ancient Greek (and Wikipedia) haven't let me down, is "no-place". Simply put, utopia is an ideal; it's a fantasy that can never be manifested in the real world. Damien Power's new show puts that utopian ideal at its heart and the reality which follows is an hour of smart, funny and often hilarious stand-up comedy.
Will you find multi-layered perfection at the end of this engaging hour of stand up? No, but you'll be close enough.
Power is generally a laid back performer, taking to the stage – or rather the floor of a shipping container – with an easy charm as he welcomes the audience and ruminates on the nature of fantasy and reality. He uses this concept as a launch pad to explore some big themes in entirely relatable ways.
Religious ideals, sporting celebrity, the dream that technology would set us free, relationships and fatherhood... all are touched on with the same laconic narrative style, each a hook for a funny story or observation. So religion becomes the gateway to exploring Power's own Possum Theory (a prism through which random events can be processed), and his relationship history a gateway to considering how best to deal with the situation when your ex's new boyfriend makes delicious pizza (awkwardly).
If the majority of Power's set could be described as low key, some of the funniest sections of the show come when the comedian kicks things up a notch. A demented evangelical sermon hits some surreal heights but the highlight of the performance comes with a hilarious section on the frailty of human civilisation in the face of impending doom. The comedian narrates the scenario with rich and disturbing clarity.
As Power states in the show, one of the problems with fantasy is that when you achieve it the ideal vanishes. There is no end destination. Will you find multi-layered perfection at the end of this engaging hour of stand up? No, but you'll be close enough to be glad you decided to join Power in this slightly less than utopian venue.