Malaysian-born comic Ronny Chieng has shown plenty of promise to date. The Ron Way marks his Melbourne International Comedy Festival debut and, while he remains an exciting prospect, it's obvious he's still developing as a comedian.
Chieng sports an aggressive stage-presence, his incensed manner both challenging and an important cornerstone of his comic approach. It's unusual to see a local performer assume such a prickly disposition, a unique fury bristling beneath Chieng's ideas and observations. His comedy is striking, sharp and hits the audience hard. Unfortunately, Chieng's persona can only sustain a show for so long, The Ron Way really running out of steam several minutes from its conclusion. Most of the gags in The Ron Way feel slightly repackaged, or at the very least tarred with the same brush. Going forward, Chieng would improve immensely by honing his versatility as a performer, developing new means of expression.
It doesn't help that Chieng's show is a tad patchy, with some segments working much better than others. The Ron Way at times seems like a recurring struggle for Chieng to win back his audience, restoring the comedic climate. This is Chieng's first solo show at the festival and one expects that he'll go onto refine his material and work out the kinks.
Ronny Chieng is certainly one of Australian's more exciting up-and-coming comedians, but as The Ron Way demonstrates, there's still room for improvement. Watch this space.