For such emigrants, the BBC radio show Two-way Family Favourites (1947-1982) allowed listeners to send musical dedications to loved ones across the Commonwealth. Green’s childhood recollections of the show, and his attempts to retain contact with England, have informed his MICF offering, Letters Home.
Since his arrival, Green has made particular effort to maintain a connection with his Mum. He would read us a sample of his letters or emails, and show some snippets of video clips, to give us a sense of the adventures he related to audiences back in England.
The selections illustrated Green’s efforts to acclimatise to a new country, and to manage day-to-day issues like finding work in a country that had only four comedy clubs. Green noted that this is his 23rd Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and so we might have surmised that his acclimatisation should not have been too torturous. Perhaps his wife could have shared a little more local knowledge, say on driving in the bush at night?
Green has a gentle style of humour which is often based on exaggerations, including of some matters we know to be quite benign. The rants stop short of the colour and menace (and humour) achieved years ago by Basil Fawlty, so there’s not much bite to Green’s routine. Like his route to Australia, there’s a certain well-worn feel to at least some of the material in 2019.
The show is an outlet for a particular polite form of English raconteuring of a past age, and appropriately there was only one muttered F-bomb in the whole show. There was also a smattering of laughs over the hour.
Green’s show was well rehearsed and enthusiastically presented. It may remind locals of some oddities we’re accustomed to that distinguish Australia from Britain. If your grandparents don’t have a critical mindset, they might find that Jeff Green seems like a nice man, and that Letters Home is a quaint offering.
Jeff Green – Letters Home
Supper Room – Melbourne Town Hall, Swanston Street, Melbourne
Performance: Monday 8 April 2019 – 7.45pm
Season continues to 21 April 2019
Information and Bookings: www.comedyfestival.com.au
Image: Jeff Green (supplied)
Review: Jason Whyte
Note: Jeff Green – Letters Home is normally presented at the Swiss Club – except for the performance on Monday 15 April which will be presented at Supper Room – Melbourne Town Hall (7.45pm)