October 2011

Arts & Letters

Stand-up comedy masterpiece

By Tim Ferguson
Justin Hamilton - ‘Circular’, 2011

Justin Hamilton is the stand-up comedian of the decade. His latest one-man show Circular is the masterpiece towards which this most dynamic and daring comedian has been building since beginning his stand-up career in 1994. Of all his work, Circular takes the biggest risks, and the gags are hilarious.

Receiving a message on his phone from an unknown number, Justin hears a voice he doesn’t recognise tell him that a friend he’s never heard of is dead. To solve the mystery, Justin goes to the funeral. He finds that everyone he meets has mistaken him for someone else. The show’s theme regards connection versus dislocation; despite our ability to communicate with anyone anywhere anytime, we’re each struggling to project a unique identity. In every story Hamilton tells, people are being mistaken for someone else. Their confusion turns to terror.

Hamilton’s shows eschew traditional structures and standard subject matter. His work consistently challenges his audiences, asking important questions about history, truth, death and identity. It reveals a razor-sharp intellect and fearless questing heart. His humour is dangerous, offering perspectives that can be frightening in scope and intent. He may well be Australia’s own Bill Hicks.

Tim Ferguson

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