Review: Troye Hawke - Tiles of the Unexpected! at Underbelly

Troye Hawke is a forty-something stay-at-home chronic overthinker-cum-conspiracy theorist, who still lives with his mum, forever avoiding the dangers of the outside world. He does temporarily leave the safety of his upper-class nest, however, to venture up to the Fringe to dutifully share with us yet another one of his webs of enticing conspiracies. This time, a CIA mind control programme, former Nazis, Kanye West, and… IKEA are all implicated.

Using his foolproof detective skills, including a highly sophisticated scrabble-based methodology, he presents a sinister plot to undermine confidence in our relationships and to destroy faith in our democracies. The show kicks off with a masterful bit of audience interaction, in which Troye begins by asking a person their name, and instantly informs them of their scrabble score, and what that means for them. Thereafter and without fail, he refers to these audience members as their assigned numbers.

His sharp wit, call-backs, and refined portrayal of upper-class mannerisms, diction, and idiosyncrasies all hit the mark, and these alone are often enough to have his audience in fits of laughter. But it’s his scrabble-based web of conspiracies, the ‘Tiles of the Unexpected!’, that turn this show into an undeniably ludicrous yet thoroughly enticing spectacle, prompting a mixture of suspense, intrigue, and uncontrollable laughter throughout.

Effective audiovisuals assist his cause, in the form of a mock PowerPoint presentation, including recordings of his ‘detective work’, followed by hilariously detailed breakdowns of their hidden meanings. He probably couldn’t believe his luck when a phone rang in the front row. Inevitably, he answered it and put it on loudspeaker. It was customer services asking for customer feedback… Safe to say, hilarity ensued. Troye Hawke is a stand-up character comedian of the highest calibre.

Troye Hawke – Tiles of the Unexpected! is on at Underbelly, Bristo Square – Dexter, 5:30 pm, Aug 10-11, 13-25

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