Bart Freebairn in:
A Breathtakingly Magical Journey into the Ordinary

Posted on 01 April 2010

I have noticed on this blog that many people look up my reviews for the big name comedians, but not so much for the up and comers. This is a shame.

I love watching the pros at work and I will continue to review them when I can. It’s highly instructive to analyse what’s working for someone who is at the top of their form. HOWEVER, these people don’t need my publicity.

The upcomers are the ones who will pour their guts out to give you a good show. They are accessible and friendly. It’s also great to make friends with them now, so you can say you knew them when…  Your support ensures in the years to come we will have new innovative performers who keep us entertained, not boring reruns of the same old stuff that’s no longer funny.

Your willingness to experiment and watch even one new act each comedy festival goes a long way toward supporting Australia’s vibrant comedy industry. So please, please read the reviews for the little guys and give someone a go.

Bart Freebairn I would say is on the medium-rare side of things. He’s still working his way up the ladder, but he’s been around and has a following. His show A Breathtakingly Magical Journey into the Ordinary is anything but ordinary. During his performance he asked if any of us had the “Magic happens” sticker. Really he should be selling “Magic is where you find it” stickers. Perspective is everything, and he demonstrates this with his charming and quirky stories about life, childhood, and family.

The show starts with a white-bearded wizard sitting on the stage in a pose similar to an arcade oracle machine. He plays an electronic organ in a mystically menacing manner, then serves to provide a dramatic entrance for our comedic hero. Clearly Bart is fashioning himself as the Harry Potter that didn’t go to Hogwarts. Throughout the rest of the show the wizard provides a nice counter-point to Bart’s reflections and insights.

Felicity Ward uses the same dramatic trope in her show The Book of Moron. Only she has a friend playing a dog who lays at her feet as she reads her stories. As a comedian, if you can get someone to fulfill this sort of role for your show, go for it.

At the last minute I was able to do the same for Strange Blessings. The advantages are: you have an extra set of hands to help you set up and take down your show, someone actively responding to your work in a postive and/or useful manner can add warmth to your performance, the spare person can also cue the audience in how to respond and serve as their surrogate without recourse to heckling. I would also say that it’s GREAT having someone with whom you can commiserate when a show doesn’t go to plan or numbers are low on a Tuesday night.

I suspect Bart will be doing very well in the future. Gen Y seems to have a very particular taste in their comedy, which is only just beginning to assert itself. No doubt TV and and films will begin to reflect this in about five years time. I say five years because big media tends to play chicken with new trends and waits for someone else to blink and give something different a try.

Bart’s comedy shows an understanding of the harsh realities of life and yet focuses on the whimsical. We all have to laugh and play, if we are going to successfully make it through life. We all have to cultivate big imaginations, if we are going to come up with the solutions that will make life even a little bit better. I love this stuff. Hurrah Gen Y!

Bart talks about trying to magically move things with his mind, but that doesn’t bring the smile to his and our hearts as does the tiny acts of kindness his grandfather showed toward the physical difficulties his grandmother faced. That’s a special kind of magic.

I can highly reccommend A Breathtakingly Magical Journey into the Ordinary. It’s full of charm and wit. I’m also deeply grateful to Bart for his promotion at the end of his show for the up and coming comedians. Thank you.



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