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Alcohol Is Good For You Too

at Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

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Kissajukian meets the expectations of an eager yet cramped crowd.

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The Wee Room is an intimate and uncomfortable proposition tonight as Sam Kissajukian arrives. With two competing queues he encourages the stragglers to sit on the floor and zeroes in on a Lithuanian IT student who seems simultaneously content and nervous to be facing the audience. Instead of mercilessly focusing on his inscrutable presence he ensures that the eager gathering are not excluded. A performer with less warmth and personality may have opted to eviscerate this low-hanging [sitting] fruit but Kissajukian is more of an anecdotalist than improviser.

A brief introduction of himself and the louder members of the audience is followed by some stories of embarrassment of wiping out as a thirty year old skater near a primary school: “My face decided it wanted to see what it’s like to be a foot for a while…”.  Later a story about the marijuana Shangri-la of Nimbin in New South Wales could have represented a rich seam of stoner gold but Kissajukian doesn’t capitalise on the inherent surrealism and retreats from any particular viewpoint.

He favours an anecdotal delivery with light-hearted observations lacking heft or much invective. There is however an interesting moment where he describes the experience of having an older mother who shares his artistic bent and serves to regulate her son’s aspirations with healthy jibes. The relationship has been codified in a tattoo depicting Kissajukian’s various passions on his right bicep: “a skater in a tree on the ocean”.

Kissajukian delivers a perfectly serviceable set which may be too specific for certain audiences (he admits as much) but matches the interests and tolerances tonight. With more preparation and writing he could introduce some slightly weightier themes but The Wee Room’s topography almost impels audience participation and Kissajukian acquits himself admirably in this unenviable performing space.