Title: Crocodile Kev’s Merry-Go-Round
Author: G.S. Wiley
Publisher: MLR Press
Length: 7,000 words
Genre: m/m Contemporary
Heat: 3 – Sexy & Mild
Sex Frequency: 3 – Average Story to Sex
Keywords/Tags: Australia, Co-Workers, Famous(ish), HFN(ish), May/Dec, Musicians, Short Story, Sports
Rating: So So
Reviewed by Nikyta
Kevin Ballantyne is a hugely successful children’s entertainer, but his personal life is no laughing matter. Will an encounter with a grown-up fan give him an Australia Day to remember?
“Crocodile” Kevin Ballantyne has been entertaining kids in Australia and all over the world for more than twenty years, fan-favorite Kazza the Kangaroo always by his side. When the dancer playing Kazza backs out of an Australia Day gig at Sydney’s Hyde Park, Kevin is left scrambling. High dive artist and longtime Crocodile Kev fan Lachlan Clayfield steps into the breach and the kangaroo costume. As they get to know one another over the course of the day, Kevin finds himself wondering whether Lachlan might be able to lend a hand in other, more personal, areas of his life.
Kevin Ballantyne has been entertaining kids for decades as Crocodile Kev with his trusty sidekick Kazza the Kangaroo. When he’s scheduled for a slot at Hyde Park in Sydney for Australia Day, the woman playing Kazza can’t make, putting him in a horrible situation. Lucky for him, he finds a fan in Lachlan Clayfield, another entertainer for Australia Day, who’s willing to put on the kangaroo suit. The two hit it off right from the start not just on the stage but in other ways.
When this story starts, it’s to Kevin not wanting to do the gig in Hyde Park and he wants to do it even less when he realizes his Kazza won’t be there. It was hard for me to connect with Kevin because I felt like he didn’t have much of a personality and didn’t like his life. Lachlan, however, I really enjoyed. I loved his bubbly attitude and the high dive entertainment he was part of. The two together are pretty cute. Kevin is much older than Lachlan which made things a bit awkward when he finds out how much of a fan the much younger Lachlan is.
This is one of those stories, though, that had a lot of potential but fell short of the mark. While I liked the premise of the story, I felt like it was too short to achieve its potential because there wasn’t much depth to the characters or the conflicts. The entire story felt rushed but also lacks a lot of important details, which made the ending feel abrupt and open ended. There’s inconsistencies but I also felt like there was too much pointless emphasis on the way Australians talk. Granted, I’m not Australian but the way Lachlan in particular was talking felt forced and awkward.
In the end, I liked the story but I felt like there could have been much more to it than there was. I loved Lachlan but Kevin came across dull in comparison to him. The age gap between them created some good conflict but there were too many other issues within the story that made this potentially good read only an okay one.