Matt Stewart is known for a specific style of stand-up. In a word: dry. Now, that's not to say dry wit necessarily, but a dry method of delivery.
You could be forgiven for thinking he's not really all that fussed. Stewart's show, however, illustrates the careful crafting he's put in place to layer and intertwine a range of jokes that'll take you by surprise.
As he lulls the audience into a humour stupor, Stewart presents a show that draws on personal anecdotes about quitting drinking.
Have you ever tried to refuse alcohol in a generally alcohol-implied setting? Stewart has some handy tips for avoiding the frustratingly inevitable 'nah, c'mon’ from friends or otherwise.
For such a new show, the structure of Bone Dry is exceptionally well developed. It's rich with callbacks, utilising a smart recurring device that enables an intelligent escalation, and culminates in a closing bit that sums up almost all of the material presented.
Clearly a very technically skilled comedian, Stewart’s misdirects abound as he presents topics with introductory gambits that change direction seemingly without effort—his stories are warped subtly and cleverly, arriving at unexpected conclusions with great effect.
Referring to his running sheet throughout, and regularly mentioning that he's still working out which jokes are landing, Stewart does an admirable job of keeping the puns coming fast enough to keep his audience engaged.
Perhaps most notable is that there are no easy jokes in this show. Stewart makes it look easy, or like he's taking it easy at least, but every quip is built on a foundation of shrewd artifice.
This is a show that portrays itself as a relaxed chat about relatively low key things. It is anything but, and that's really the wonder of Stewart's work.
You might not realise you've seen a show rich in social commentary and complex comedic devices but, in fact, you have.
Tickets available from the FRINGE WORLD website.