Alexander Cofield’s one-sheep show, Woolly: The Morose Merino, being performed in The Spare Room at The Garden Of Unearthly Delights until March 5, is a strange sort of beast and one that is resistant to categorisation as a straight-out comedy, although there are certainly some quite funny moments in the show.
Cofield’s show is actually full of gentle humour rather than laugh out loud moments. It is rich in pathos and is imbued with a disarming tenderness and, whilst you would not call it ‘shear’ genius, you would find it hard to believe anyone would feel ‘fleeced’ by having bought a ticket either.
In fact, this show really is quite poignant, philosophical and rich with perceptive insights into the vagaries of life. It delivers appealing messages of hope, resilience and self-belief, as well as being quite educational in its demonstrations of shearing technique!
Initially, our first impression of Woolly is a tad off-putting: he comes on hot and sweaty in his sheep suit, but we soon realise that this is a self-deprecatory, deliberate grotesque designed to underscore his lack of sex appeal and luck with the lady sheep in the back paddock and to set the scene for us to witness the process of reclaiming his self-worth which unfolds as the show progresses.
We soon warm to Woolly, however, as he shares with us his journey on which he undergoes a searching self-examination psychologically and also, as he recounts to us in graphic proctological detail, physically, at the hands of his empathetic veterinarian psychologist.
By the end of the show, this Yorkshireman – performing at his first Adelaide Fringe – had certainly won the admiration of the small gathering who attended this performance, and each member of the audience – ‘baa’ none – left the show with a smile on their face.
This show is recommended as a boost for those who are feeling a little under the ‘wether’ or for those who may be suffering from ‘sheep deprivation’ (sorry, but it’s that type of show, folks!) – and it is especially recommended to those who don’t like their comedy too confrontational, or delivered by comedians who find it necessary to aggressively ‘ram’ their insecurities and anxieties at ‘ewe’.
Honestly – and I do not feel sheepish saying this – this is a disarmingly sweet-natured, emotionally intelligent show that deserves people to ‘flock’ to see it.
Rating: 4 stars
Woolly: The Morose Merino is being performed at The Spare Room in The Garden Of Unearthly Delights from the 17th February until the 5th March. Shows begin at 7:00pm. Bookings through Fringe Tix.