Milo McCabe’s latest comic incarnation is quite superb. Troy Hawke is an RP speaking, cravat wearing 1940’s dandy who is on an admirable mission to change the world. He is a lovable fool with a dash of sophistication. Also he’s blisteringly funny.
When a comedian says he has ‘audience badinage’ then you know you are in for a treat.
Hawke is a terrific creation. He is perfectly pitched to move between having a devilish glint in his eyes to starry wide eyed innocence. With this fluidity McCabe is able to explore his material from a wide variety of vistas; with cynicism or with shock, with adoration or disgust. Yet somehow he manages to keep all these within character.
McCabe’s grasp of Hawke’s language is impeccable. When a comedian says he has ‘audience badinage’ then you know you are in for a treat. Also, McCabe has the physical mannerisms down to a tee. With a cheeky grin, a hip swivel and a shaking of his large white feather (not a euphemism) Hawke suddenly comes to life. Each body movement is just as funny as each of McCabe’s perfectly worded jokes.
The central thrust of the comedy is that Hawke, as a privileged white man, feels that he lacks the necessary oppression to make him a fully rounded person. As a result he proposes to join a highly demonised and ostracised section of society in order to gain a deeper knowledge of humanity. As a result he becomes a racist. This is a good example of the kind of giddy, silly, satirical humour that McCabe deals with. And he deals with it very well.
The through line however, as wonderfully as it is pulled off, does feel a tad obvious. Comedy that is ironically PC by breaking the conventional rules of PC is something most Fringe audiences will have seen before. Possibly the Hawke character would be better served with a narrative based set rather than one which is so theme based. At times Hawke feels simply like a cipher for McCabe to make his fashionable comedic point.
But this is nit-picking. Consummately entertaining and enviably talented, McCabe gets his laughs and he deserves them.