Review | Raul is by the pool and the water is fine

Raul By The Pool | Ramp @ The Ice Cream Factory | til Feb 25th | ★ ★ ★ 

“Shit, is this funny or not?” was my mate’s stellar, and pretty apt response, when I asked him what he’d thought about the show. Two other guys at a urinal trough chimed in with a few opinions of their own, interrupting my interrogation. It seemed there was mostly agreement. And for a moment, despite the potential awkwardness of the situation, our two groups were brought together, and we laughed as we broke down the contents of the show and apparently all appropriate urinal etiquette.

We meet Raul initially not by a pool as the title would have you believe, but flouncing outside The Ramp tent in sparkly gold short-shorts and a tank-top, introducing himself to various audience members. His faux-French accent and line of questioning sets the tone for the evening – the show is going to be silly and interactive. Soon we learn that Raul, the pool cleaner and occasional activity host at The Sol Hotel, has lost his wife to the hotel’s yoga instructor. And so follows an hour of jokes from the cleaner himself, as he attempts to navigate his way through his recent breakup, all the while fulfilling his hotel duties.

Raul by the Pool, a one-man comedy cabaret by Andrew Silverwood, is not an hour of laugh out loud moments. It’s can be a slow burn at times – you have to be patient to get through some of the flatter jokes. But what the Silverwood does do is create a comfortable and fun environment, where the audience is happy to be involved. My thought going into shows is always, “Please don’t pick me to go on stage.” I can however confidently say that I didn’t think this once, nor did it seem like many others felt that way. And therein lies the heart and skill of this piece.

Looking around, in between dodging just about a million pool balls, I could see that even if the audience wasn’t consistently in rapturous laughter, everybody was smiling. There were no crossed arms and no stand-offish guests. I can’t say that this is the funniest cabaret you could see at Fringe, but this is a show that will leave you feeling happy, energetic and closer to your fellow man. And I’d recommend it on that basis.

Raul is by the pool until February 25th. Tickets and more info available from fringeworld.com.au

Craig Campbell


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