Sam Taunton seems to attract strangeness wherever he goes. From a pair of overly intimate traffic wardens to a questionable army vet on a train, the comic’s natural magnetism has worked in favour of his chosen career. And while he can put on a happy face for the odder encounters, the comedian is constantly ticking away at finding the funny.
Straight From The Shoulder is at its strongest when Taunton allows moments of candour to take over the show. Pockets of frank and hilarious storytelling, traversing revelations on heartbreak, drug experimentation, and the worst gig of his (and perhaps any comic’s) career, have the crowd on board in a heartbeat. The problems, however, lie in Taunton’s attempts to weave these stories into a narrative. The tale of an introspective 20-something is indeed functional for grouping these moments of his life together, but the humour in between is comparatively lacking from the rest of the performance. The highs are slick and masterful, but the lows tend to slip punters out of the allure of the story. It feels, as well, that Taunton is trying to shoehorn references to his show title into the show itself, and while they offer a humorous look into his father’s country music career, these moments are completely out of place from the rest of the narrative.
Nonetheless, Taunton possesses a kind of affability that many comics take years to perfect, only his is totally natural. A chilled Sydney charm radiates out of the stand-up from the get-go, immediately relaxing punters for an easygoing hour of charismatic comedy. A raconteur for the modern age, Taunton still delivers the goods.