The saying goes ‘when life gives you lemons, make lemonade’. For Festival regular Gordon Southern, when life threw him an unexpected curveball by way of his father getting dementia, he decided to boldly put a comedic spin on it. Thus Long Story Short was born.
While we have been privy to some personal moments in his life from previous works, Southern has not quite dedicated an entire piece around one let alone a parent’s dwindling health. This is a bit of a departure from his usual offerings though returning punters will be pleased to know his trademark fun facts and raps do make an appearance.
Over the course of the hour, Southern candidly shares fond memories of not only growing up with his bantering Scottish father but also their relationship today with the disease in tow. In between he weaves in amusing stories from his early days as a drama student (which include a hilariously ill-fated bottle of milk incident) as well as the lengths he puts himself through to oblige his vegan, fitness-obsessed wife.
Southern’s greatest strength is his delightfully mirthful stage presence. He is an excellent storyteller and natural entertainer – no doubt thanks to that drama degree – and you can’t help but just be swept away by his excitable energy and comic shenanigans. The evening’s crowd was unjustifiably meager but he doesn’t let that put a damper on the proceedings.
Long Story Short is a wonderfully high-spirited and moving piece about finding the funny in a not-so-funny predicament. Gordon Southern is undeniably a master at his craft, using dynamic storytelling along with his jovial disposition to create another deftly written, easily enjoyable hour.
Gordon Southern is performing at Q Theatre until 6th May then at the Cavern Club in Wellington 9th-13th May. For more details and to book tickets, click here.