Review: The Bedroom Philosopher – Songs from the 86 Tram

Posted on 12 April 2009

I have a load of reviews up with which I need to catch. I shall start with my favourite show at this year’s Melbourne International Comedy Festival.

Songs from the 86 Tram was the only show for which I actually purchased a ticket last weekend. As part of the Jeez Louise conference I was given a stack of free tickets. However, I kept on hearing about this show. When my friend Janet McLeod gave it rave reviews, I knew I had to go.

Justin Heazlewood stepped onto the stage guitar in hand, dressed in full tram driver gear, and proceeded to charm the audience with songs and stories of the many people who take the 86 tram.

His musical style hearkens back to the golden era of folk music when Pete Seeger, Joan Baez, and Bob Dylan were strumming away.  Heazlewood certainly has an edge of Arlo Guthrie in his storytelling, but his gentle laid back style is more reminiscent of an urban Garrison Keillor.

Heazlewood skillfully portrayed each of his characters, making them distinct, believable, and engaging. His portrayal of the assimilated immigrant certainly was amongst his funniest characters: talking about moving from one suburb to another in a way that kept making the audience think perhaps he was talking about moving from his homeland. My favourite character was the confused elderly gentleman, and the new media kid certainly struck a chord.

The show delivered plenty of laughs. It was also a poignant and loving portrayal of the many people who pass through a tram every day from the desperate and poor to the young and aspirational. Justin Heazlewood is a very talented man. I look forward to seeing more of his productions. Keep an eye on him at The Bedroom Philosopher.

Oh! And as a side note. Doesn’t he look a little like Hannah Gadsby? And they’re both from Tasmania…hmm.

Peace and kindness,


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