Peter Helliar – The Complete History of Better Books

April 1, 2019

Bless Peter Helliar’s mum. For without her pride, love and hoarding tendencies, this show would not exist.

Storytelling and humour were the perfect combination to cheer up a wet and windy Sunday afternoon. Helliar’s hour-long show passed in no time at all as the audience relaxed in the plush comfort of ‘Upstairs’ at Melbourne’s iconic Forum theatre.

Opening with an immediate giggle as Helliar self-deprecatingly introduced himself as ‘It’s Meeeeee’ before sauntering onto the stage, the show then took us on a hilarious journey back to the simple days of the mid-1980’s. A performance for all ages, Helliar’s use of photos and video helped explain the delights of the era to the younger generations, while those of us in our forties and above nodded sagely, elbowing our neighbours in comical recognition of long-forgotten moments.

An interesting take on a totally relatable concept, The Complete History of Better Books harks back to primary school days when young-lad Peter Hellier started his own publishing company. Settled in his comfy chair, Helliar reads from the actual books he created. Hand drawn, stapled together, complete with stories of heroes, spies, kings, sporting conquests and world domination, his tales of childhood dreams and friendship enchanted the room.

Helliar shares a time, not that long ago, before political correctness censored the natural and innocent expression of youth. His message, although delivered with humour, is passionate, honest and endearing.

Telling stories matters. Sharing experiences is essential to human nature. No matter how good / bad / funny / sad / serious / ridiculous our experiences may seem, they are important and relevant to someone, somewhere. Helliar ends his session with a plea to everyone in the audience to write more and often. To share our thoughts, feelings and experiences with the world. He’s got a good point.

The Complete History of Better Books has two more shows at the Forum – Upstairs on April 6th and 7th 2019, as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2019.


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