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Jason Byrne: The Byrne Supremacy – Fringe 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Corry Shaw

To say that a Jason Byrne show is predictable may sound negative, but in Byrne’s case it is comforting and positive. Byrne brings his familiar enthusiasm and banter to his latest hour, alongside some new anecdotes based on the old premise that men are a bit mental and women are a bit despairing.

There really is very little new here.  Once again there is well practiced ad-libs in response to his ‘maddest audience ever’ and once again there is the overwhelming sense of fun and joy.

The man has a knack for making people genuinely happy and laugh solidly for an hour. He is a master of making each audience feel like they are the best bunch of people he has ever performed to and although his regulars know it’s a device, they are more than willing to play along. The level of enthusiasm never falters, creating a supercharged atmosphere not even the most festival weary cynic could resist.

There are only a couple of set pieces in the hour, illustrated by the rather swanky James Bond (not Jason Bourne, despite the title) backdrop, which includes two massive X-rays of body parts that Byrne has broken in the last year.  The tales surrounding the mishaps are as funny as they are memorable and the circumstances surrounding his broken knee are unforgivingly and graphically scorched into the memory.

His talent for storytelling is almost as accomplished as his aptitude for banter and each tale is weaved in a kaleidoscope of descriptive digressions and physical buffoonery.  His avidity and zealousness never wane, creating the illusion this is the first time he has retold the tale of the killer 2ft wave that almost did for him.

As normal there is some audience participation with the climatic stunt of the show and Byrne returns to an a trusted old prop of cardboard boxes to try to recreate a magic trick.

It is stupid, chaotic, farcical and pointless but in the most positive way imaginable. It is a completely beautiful mess that leaves the audience gasping for breath with some given Byrne a standing ovation as he left the stage.

There may not be anything fresh or new about Byrne’s latest outing but it is surely the perfect evidence to back up the old idiom: ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’

Review date: 27 Aug 2009
Reviewed by: Corry Shaw

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