The 1 Like Fish
Topping & Butch
Two Episodes Of MASH
Composer, actor and pianist Tim Minchin lept into the British comedy scene in 2005, with his Perrier-best-newcomer-winning Edinburgh show Dark Side.
It was a show he had debuted at the Sydney Big Laugh Comedy Festival earlier that year, and performed to critical acclaim at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, where it won the Festival Directors' Award.
His follow-up show, So Rock, was nominated for the Barry award for the most outstanding show in his native Melbourne in 2006 before returning to Edinburgh. That year he also appeared at the Just For Laughs comedy festival in Montreal.
He performed his first show, Navel, in Australia in 2003 and was a Victoria state finalist in the Raw competition for new comedians the following year.
As an actor, he has played Amadeus in Peter Schaffer's play, and Hamlet, both for the Perth Theatre Company, and has appeared with the Australian Shakespeare Company.
Winner of the best music and variety act at the Chortle awards in 2009, 2010 and 2011, where his show with a full orchestra was also named best tour.
In 2010, he wrote the music for the Royal Shakespeare Company's adaptation of Roald Dahl's Matilda.
Greenwich Comedy Festival: Tim Minchin etc
There are few better ways to get a party started than with Tim Minchin, so what perfect choice to kick off the third Greenwich Comedy Festival, another week of top-drawer comics in the glorious and historic Old Royal Naval College.
There were, however, a few teething problems with the 1,800-seater marquee. The gig was half an hour late starting, Minchin's radio mic gave up the ghost midway through his first song, and some lighting cable came untethered and fell (harmlessly) on to the audience. Such drama.
Luckily compere Dan Atkinson guided us nimbly through such palavers. He has something of a chaotic demeanour himself, but is surprisingly, and reassuringly, controlled with it. In a similarly contradictory manner, he's quirkily idiosyncratic, but easily to relate to – at least if you’re not a primary school teacher, an occupation he has tremendous fun baiting. A couple of his left-field lines are near the knuckle, but always delivered with a cheeky glint that makes them instantly forgivable.
Festival bookers didn’t look too far from Atkinson on the A-Z list of comedians for opening act Dan Antopolski, who was visibly put on the back foot by the size of the audience, and admitted as much. Still, being in awe of the crowd rather suits his man-child persona: awkward, hesitant and clad in awful knitwear. His set was faltering, not quite building momentum, even though his impressively agile wordplay drew sold laughs – even if you also grimace through some of the more torturous examples. His quiet, eager-to-please charm goes a long way, too.
After the first interval, sublime anti-poet Tim Key delivered an all-too short set of his finest work, applying decidedly un-poetic language to mundane situations, and creating fragments of hilarious beauty because of it. His ‘harrowing’ war verse, with its blindsiding punchline deserves special mention, but his unique style of writing and delivery, part-naturalistic, part-affected, was as richly rewarding as ever.
Holly Walsh got a good reception, too, playing up her South East London connection as a resident of nearby Peckham, rough but battling valiantly to gentrify. Her nuggets of personal observations are of variable quality, with the best conjuring up moments of strange embarrassment, but she delivers with such enthusiasm and emphasis as to win the crowd over. She even gets laughs out of two very similar payoffs about pregnancy testing kits, even though, in theory, the routines should have been much further apart.
After a second interval, the man everyone came to see, Tim Minchin, with some greatest hits including Rock And Roll Nerd, Prejudice and the awesome Pope Song – although muted call-and-response sections seemed to suggest this crowd weren’t entirely au fait with the barefooted Australian’s back catalogue.
There were, too, a couple of more recent numbers, including the unflinchingly honest, if creepily unpalatable, lullaby to his daughter; plus daring Cont which pushed to the limit the audience’s confidence in his motives, before the silly reveal.
Impressive musicality aside, Minchin’s chief skill is the depths to which he will drag the audience down some apparently serious path, delivering with such apparently earnest, heartfelt emotion that natural cynicism is demolished, before he release the comedy pay-off to now devastating effect.
His stand-up matches the skill of the songs, too, with some A-grade material about ‘guilty pleasures’ or a trip to the barber’s, while his army of nerd followers are not neglected with some cheekily geeky discussion about the statistical measure known as the p-value.
This was a rare back-to-basics gig for Minchin – if you can call any set which involves a grand piano ‘basic’. But away from the arenas and full orchestra back-up, he delivered as funny, thoughtful and barnstormingly powerful performance as ever. It was an impressive start to an impressive festival.
|Date of live review: Tuesday 6th Sep, '11|
Review by Steve Bennett
Thursday 14th Feb, '13- Winchester Theatre Royal
Monday 9th Jul, '12- Udderbelly South Bank
Wednesday 14th Dec, '11-
Sunday 31st Jul, '11-
Tuesday 14th Dec, '10- Brighton Centre
Monday 26th Oct, '09- Hammersmith Apollo
Show - Misc live shows -
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2008 -
Show - Misc live shows -
Show - Adelaide Fringe 2007 - Saturday 31st Mar, '07-
Show - West End run -
Show - Montreal 2006 -
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2005 -
Show - Melbourne 2005 -
Show - Edinburgh Fringe 2006 -
Show - Misc live shows -
Yes great to see Tim in intimate venue, just him and piano like it used to be. Love the band, but also solo. The 16-year-old was not embarrassed, nor her parents -- all big fans.
Saw TM for second time at Beautiful Days this weekend, one of the most gifted and brilliant performers I have ever seen, who also happens to be extremely funny.
That's the trouble with people called Mandy, they just don't do irony ....
@vicky... um what? guess I'm not 'intelectual' enough...
An utter pleasure to watch perform and a delightfully down to earth person. Eagerly awaiting his interpretation of Matilda to hit the west end.
I would advise this Art School Stilgoe to revise his sixth-form debater-informed 'Storm Movie' poetry - too preachy for his target crowd of rebounding Brand-ettes and too ill-informed and twitterati-driven to draw any intelectual audience worth its salt.
I saw Tim at the Glasgow Pavilion. Wow what a night.
You just can’t fault this guy. Saw his ‘Ready for this’ tour in Cambridge and was utterly brilliant. I bought his CD and listen too it regularly and you really start to appreciate all the ironies. All round good fun, sort off bloke if you met in a bar you would be entertained for hours just listening to him rant! Top class!!
|'Judas' Minchin sued over corporate gig
Company had sought five-figure sum
15/02/2013 Permanent link
|Review: Tim Minchin in Jesus Christ Superstar
By Steve Bennett at the O2 Arena
24/09/2012 Permanent link
|Tim Minchin: You can't tempt fate
...as he demonstrates with a shock soundbite
03/06/2012 Permanent link
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Tim Minchin and The Heritage Orchestra - Live at The Royal Albert Hall
Tim MInchin: Ready For This?
Tim Minchin and Friends
Mark Watson Makes the World Substantially Better
Series one of his radio show
Laughapoolooza [Adelaide 07]
Edinburgh Fringe 2005
Tim Minchin: Dark Side
Edinburgh Fringe 2006
Tim Minchin: So Rock
Edinburgh Fringe 2008
Tim Minchin: Ready For This?
Tim Minchin: Dark Side [Melbourne]
Misc live shows
Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People
Secret Policeman's Ball 2008
Late Nite Down Under
Tim Minchin And His Orchestra
West End run