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Jack Gow: Just A Small Town Boy (SCF)

1 May 2017 | 3:47 pm | Sam Baran

"A whirlpool of memories and musings about growing up in the small country town of Armidale."

Jack Gow possesses an anxious, apologetic eloquence that takes the everyday and makes it quietly marvellous. Like the mesmerising beauty of a draining bathtub, words tumble from his mouth in an endless flow of postulations, explanations, corrections and connections, that swirl around and around in a whirlpool of memories and musings about growing up in the small country town of Armidale.

Just A Small Town Boy is a show best described in Gow's own words: funny, but with pathos. We are taken through the comedian's childhood in a series of shuddering steps, carried from scene to sepia-toned scene by his vivid descriptions, dwelling on both amusing and sobering moments alike. This is theatre of the personal and intimate; Gow opens up to us like he's confessing something deeply private to a close confidant. Those expecting the non-stop laughs of classic stand-up may find this show too emotionally demanding, but for the open-minded, it is highly rewarding. We're there to laugh, cry and reminisce with Gow - it's visceral at times, but always authentic.

There is something undeniably calming - or perhaps hypnotic - about Gow's manner, even as he exposes a mind which overthinks everything and forgives nothing about itself. Masculinity, acceptance and what it all means are the themes which dominate his thoughts, and all the most uncomfortable truths of our childhood and society's treatment of the 'other' are stripped bare, making each laugh pointedly double-hinged. Just A Small Town Boy is a bittersweet experience, a highly amusing but subtly complex hour by a talented wordsmith. 

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