Comedy Festival: Hamish & Lynette Parkinson in Me ‘n’ Ma

by Lord Sutch

This show was either going to be hilarious or an utter train wreck. The premise was so fucking bold. Hamish brings his mother, Lynette, on stage and then the two of them sit on a couch and talk shit and drink wine for an hour.

Fortunately, it is far more hilarious than train wreck. In fact no trains were wrecked in this show, and while it doesn’t quite sustain dizzying heights of hilarity throughout the hour it’s a wonderful and heart warming show.

First off, Hamish is intense. That’s part of his shtick. He mines his own rubber face for laughs expertly, whether it be with a sudden look of intensity as his eyes widen and darken at the audience, or as he looks at his mother with pride mixed with shock as she reveals another family “secret” to the audience.

The show is Lynette’s life, as narrated by Lynette with prompting from Hamish. And thankfully for the audience Lynette has lived one hell of a life, is free and very open with sharing and has a delightfully warm stage presence that makes us want to hear her story.

I’ve got family members whose stories meander along and go nowhere, drifting off into tangents about people you don’t know or care about, and while Hamish warns us up the top that his mum might do that, it never felt that way.

Which is possibly my only flaw with the show. I don’t know how much of the show is the same each night, but to truly grab me, I would love to have felt that we were hearing the stories the first time and that Hamish and Lynette’s reactions and interactions hadn’t been done before. I know this is also an impossible ask given the nature of theatre and the show structure, but I never could quite shake the feeling of a layer of it being inauthentic.

That’s not to say that the show isn’t very funny. It is. Hamish and Lynette both have a knack for telling stories in a magical, funny, and raw way. They both put themselves out there, showing a vulnerability that is both endearing and hilarious, and most importantly, Lynette’s life has been really fucking interesting.

I would gladly hear more stories from Lynette, and I would very gladly go and see a show from Hamish again. It was an excellent hour spent.

Hamish and Lynette Parkinson in Me ‘n’ Ma

Wellington, BATS Theatre, May 21-25, 8:30pm

Full price: $20
Concession: $20
Group 6+: $20


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