Melbourne Fringe: The Cane Toad Effect

After talking about his criminal father and his heroin-addicted mother in the opening minutes of the show, Corey White warns that the show will get darker. And it does, but there was something so great about how honest the darkness has made him.

The Cane Toad Effect - Melbourne Fringe 2015
The Cane Toad Effect – Melbourne Fringe 2015

Early on in The Cane Toad Effect, a show about unintended consequences, White asks a man in the audience if he’s ever frightened a woman unintentionally. As he talks about following a woman – debating whether to fall back or cross the road (it was beside the river in Brisbane and there are mangroves), the show veers dangerously close to what I might expect from a lot of male comics: haha, isn’t it funny that this woman is frightened.

Turns out, that story is emblematic of the show – White is thoughtful about how other people perceive him, he worries about the situation he finds himself in and has found the right distance to be honest about everything in his life.

White’s life story – in and out of foster homes – was highlighted on a recent episode of the ABC’s Australian Story. That version of his story was confronting enough. The Cane Toad Effect allows him to laugh at everything that’s happened to him and I mean everything. I’m used to seeing comedians who will say things just to shock an audience. A lot of what White says is shocking, but when you laugh, you know you’re laughing with him. White is laugh out loud funny, but he’s also smart and uncompromising.

It does get darker, but then he finds his way to the spotlight of stand-up. Go see him there.

Keith Gow

Keith Gow is an internationally-produced playwright, best known for Who Are You Supposed to Be (Edinburgh Fringe 2013, Melbourne Fringe 2014, Adelaide Fringe 2015). He is also co-writer of the upcoming supernatural drama series Sonnigsburg which will air on Channel 31. He blogs about his writing, film and theatre at

Keith Gow

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