Dr Professor Neal Portenza's Interactive Goat Hour: There are no goats and the show is only 54 minutes long, excluding the bonus minute

Dr Professor Neal Portenza has more titles than I would give stars. At first glance there remains a promising idea of a fun character hanging about him, dressed in lab coat, in-patient garb, red beret and slathered in make-up. Unfortunately, his potential is never fulfilled, as in the course of the hour the Doctor/Professor/Comedian does very little in the way of comedy.

This is an interactive show, a fact which keeps us fairly occupied, as we are given a small remote control to submit our votes to the question on the projection slides. These are fairly basic nonsensical questions like 'who was Jesus’s fay-vrit disciple?' with answers like 'Dingus' available to us. If these were supposed to be guiding the show along, we were sorely disappointed, especially after such great importance placed upon the authenticity of the voting system. In reality, nobody really cares what boxes they tick, because all the options are disappointing and negligible.

Intended to be bizarre and aimless joy, the fun is spread pretty thin, getting truly boring at times and it takes forever to come to the jokes, which end up not being worth the wait. The effort gone to for each little flourish of comedy detracts from what should be effortless nonsense.

The hecklers definitely provided the most fun, who Portenza at first worked with as willing participants, but after having armed the audience with a box full of stress balls to lob at him, it became pretty impossible for him to reign things in and continue with the show, which was grinding to a halt with his poorly disguised attempts to cool the hecklers in their self-perpetuated fun. I can't blame them; no one else was providing anything in the way of amusement. Dealing with these guys certainly didn't help his likeability, so we were left with the scraps of what might have been a passable show on a good night.

The blurb includes the disclaimer 'certainly not for everyone'. Ball fight notwithstanding, I am in full agreement.

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Performances

The Blurb

Winner: Best Comedy, 2012 Melbourne Fringe. Nominated: Best Independent Production, 2011 MICF. 'Impeccably constructed chaos.' ***** (TalkFringe.com).

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