2011 Melbourne Fringe Festival:
• Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall in “The”

Posted on 22 September 2011

Alasdair may regret the title for his show before long. It completely messes up being found sensibly by search engines such as Google. Fortunately, the show is memorable even if the title is not.

“The” is structured something like a lifestyle show with themed segments and musical segues, which include Alasdair’s smooth dance moves and a punchy reminder of the show title. For those not doing story-based comedy, this is an excellent way to develop your material and maintain audience interest. Alasdair keeps things engaging and buoyant.

Though I do not remember the precise titles of his segments, the material evolved from questions of guilt to experiments in vice and finally the getting of wisdom. These are the classic stops in a spiritual journey, only in this case they were turned on their heads and played with for all the ridiculousness they were worth.

In the guilt segment Alasdair spoke about feeling he should be a vegetarian. It’s no good killing things. However, he explained he feels worse about a dead person than a dead animal. Alasdair then went into a long description about how he might feel particularly badly about an animal being killed, if he found a possum with a little possum home where he found it had been painting little possum portraits and then it died. The whimsicality, imagination, and pure absurdity of his extended metaphors brought something fresh and new to comedy.

Alasdair does range from the light-hearted to the dark corners of human behaviour. Good shows will weave together the diversity of human experience in a way that makes the material dynamic and honest. Though, if that range is too great, you can start losing cohesiveness and focus to your work. I was concerned that “The” stretched too far. We almost had two shows and two styles of material competing for attention here.

Comedians early in their careers may find this happens frequently. We are all trying to discover our voice. Alasdair’s strongest material would group him with comedians such as Bart Freebairn, Josh Earl, and Adam Hills. He seems pulled toward a Dylan Moran style upon occasion, which can be fun. But I’m not certain how compatible the two styles really are.

I caught “The” on its opening night (without previews) at Melbourne Fringe. Alasdair did have a cheat sheet, he did fumble a little, but wow, it was still a great night out. He’s a talented young man. If you’re a hipster, you MUST see him now, so you can say you knew him when…

Peace and kindness,

Katherine


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