FRINGEWORLD 2018 | Reuben Hunter – The Hoard | 4 stars

Review | Laura Money

I’ll be the first to admit that when I saw what this show was about, I thought – oh great, another young, white, straight, male comedian about to bitch and moan about how hard it is to be single and criticise women. I’ll also be the first to admit that I was wrong!

Reuben Hunter – The Hoard is a clever piece of storytelling that charts the comedian’s obsessive hoarding as a reaction to many of life’s anxieties – culminating in the literal inability to let go after his father’s death. Hunter states upfront that he’s cheerfully aware that ‘every man and his dog has a “Dead Dad” comedy show. The dog’s is the worst.’ Boom! Without missing a beat, Hunter sets up the show. He opens with a picture of his house – what he collects, how much of it, why – and how it got so out of control, even his robotic vacuum cleaner tried to kill itself! It’s quirky stuff, but so damn funny!

The rest of the show consists of Hunter’s ‘origin’ story, if you will. How he started doing stand up comedy and leaving notes in random piles around his house – scraps of comedy gold he cringes about now, but can’t let go of just yet. He puts them all in a box to deal with later. How he buys too many books and video games and DVDs and they spill out of the shelves – unread, unplayed, unwatched. By the way, Hunter’s hilarious justification for not watching the horror movies is priceless! (Me too, Reuben, me too!) So, he puts them in a cardboard box to deal with later. Comic book figurines, canvas eco bags, childhood toys – they all go into a cardboard box to deal with later.

It only starts to get creepy when we get to the hair. Seriously – we’re all nodding along, clapping at salient points (mate, I do that, it’s like he read my mind!) and then Hunter pulls the rug out from under the audience with one sentence – I kept my dreadlocks after I cut them off and kept them on a shelf next to my Dad’s ashes. Talk about your room silencers! It’s a poignant moment that really brings the whole show home. Hunter explores how his need to keep things in case the memories fade or in case he needs something one day, goes beyond the average person’s innate need to collect – how it becomes a problem that runs far deeper than the physical build-up of material and into the grieving process.

He packs everything up into a cardboard box to deal with later.

The show is clearly cathartic for Hunter, who unpacks each segment of his life, one cardboard box at a time. The Hoard is part psychoanalysis, part reaching out, part anti-IKEA rant but it’s all giving and growing. Why don’t you come and help Reuben Hunter unpack his life – and tackle The Hoard?

WHEN: 6 – 11 February 2018 | 6:15pm

WHERE: Perth Town Hall | Perth CBD

INFO: Tickets $21 | Duration 50 mins | Suitable 15+ | TW: suicide, mental health issues | WA Artist | COMEDY



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