COMEDY REVIEW: Chris Marlton – Mephisto Waltz

Brilliant Canberra stand-up in her own right, Sarah Ison reviews the debut comedy special from local chuckle chameleon Chris Marlton which is—gasp!— available to watch now on YouTube.

[And if you like what you read/see and want the personal live experience, Chris Marlton’s new show, Moonlight Pilot, is on at The Courtyard Studio, Canberra Theatre on Thursday, 16 March at 8:30pm. Tickets, which I highly recommend, can be purchased here – Bossman Sko]

Chris Marlton… The Daniel Day-Lewis of Canberra Comedy

Snorting silicon dust off the shaved back off an ape. Finding the keys to unlock your grandmother’s landlocked past. Shoes tied together with spaghetti laces you can throw on the stove after a long day’s work. 

These are just some of the brain breaking ideas that simply don’t come close to any one-liner you’ve ever heard from a stand-up comic.

But that’s Chris Marlton, the character-comic that effortlessly switches from a southern belle—who happened to be at both the signing of the Constitution and the filming of James Cameron movies—to the slam poet and rapper, Davy Bluetooth, spitting lines about veganism.

In his one hour special, Mephisto Waltz, Marlton morphs into seven characters hailing from across the globe with (mostly) on point accents that dance from English and American to unabashedly South African.

On With The Show

Marlton opens the show with the softly spoken Mama America, who knows everyone in the crowd from those times they spent together in the 1940s and somehow also the 1780s.

After reminiscing over how Danny-Rae died from being kicked in the chest by a horse called Star Pickle, she goes on to educate the “young’ns” about the Constitution being the “new bible”, but with allowances to shoot whomever you’d like.

Fast forward to the very yelly motivational speaker Rob-Rob Anthony reminding us our lives are like films, on which we are set designer, executive producer, accountant, and gaffer.

No one could possibly understand Marlton’s train of thought (good luck even getting to the bottom of the show title) and yet the audience doesn’t hesitate to call out responses to whichever character has materialised before them throughout the special.

Despite being very much on his plane, Marlton confidently invites those watching to join him in on his truly confounding journey through time and space asking questions like: what was your grandmother’s favourite ice-cream flavour?

It’s very rarely a rhetorical question, with Marlton persistently drawing the crowd into his madness; a place of suspended disbelief, incredibly imaginative writing and, sometimes, a complete silliness that you can’t help laugh at.

Mephisto Waltz is currently streaming for free on YouTube at Chris is currently touring new show, Moonlight Pilot, which you can see as part of the Canberra Comedy Festival on Thursday, 16 March at Canberra Theatre Centre. Tix via

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