Christopher Welldon has moved house 60 times in 30 years.
He's been hit in the face by a boat on two separate occasions, kissed boys that had girlfriends, and was even made to sit on a beached shark for a photo once. He presented his compelling story of constant departure and arrival in the form of an intimate comedy at Brisbane Powerhouse for MELT Festival.
Positioned in the centre of the Turbine Studio was a board featuring a map of Australia and an extensive list of locations from Thursday Island to Melbourne and everywhere in between. The audience heard an anecdote for each of these locations as the show went on. Christopher presented his thrilling tales dynamically, taking the astonished and awestruck crowd on a trip around Australia as he told tales filled with anger, sadness and hilarity.
There were some points during the show where the relationship between storyteller and audience became so mesmerising and personal that it seemed nothing was off-limits. Christopher revealed that at the innocent age of nine years old, he was molested by a teenage boy. The way this was spoken showcased his ability to make light of even the darkest situations, as he shuddered, but only because the film 'Porky's II' was playing on the TV as it happened.
Laced cleverly with genius comedy from the heart of a man who clearly tries to see the good in every situation, there were also a few moments that filled the room with a deep sense of sympathy. Christopher opened up about his mother's abusive ex-partner, Dale. He followed the family from place to place and turned out to be a “textbook bully”, weakened as soon as his opponent showed any sign of strength. His mother finally found the courage to stand her ground, and as a result, he cowered and fled.
The show did the opposite of lack direction. The direction was the clearest part of it because the audience literally followed him everywhere he went. But in it's early stages, it was hard to determine how it would conclude.
As the show reached its end, and Christopher sidled along his jam-packed timeline towards the present, it was clear the message behind this show was somewhat about self-actualisation. Looking back at bad points in life and saying “that happened, but I'm okay”. Christopher explained: despite the potentially destructive experiences he witnessed in his youth, he eventually learned of his own strength and potential.
'Christopher Doesn't Live Here Anymore' is a show that not only saw audience members learn some fascinating things Christopher, but also saw them look deep within themselves. It's the story of a man who has seen the darker side of life, and yet is somehow able to look back at it with an admirable sense of positivity and hope, for whatever is to come next.
Four out of five sharks!