Garrett Millerick: The Dreams Stuff Is Made Of | Review by Steve Bennett
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Garrett Millerick: The Dreams Stuff Is Made Of

Review by Steve Bennett

With his booming voice and bullet-proof confidence, Garrett Millerick has long been able to sell a story. And with The Dreams Stuff Is Made Of, he proves he knows how to tell one, too.

He’s always relished big, impassioned performances, so it’s hard to credit that stand-up is actually his Plan B. The original ambition, we learn here, was to be a film director.

So while a lot of comedians will preach a feelgood ‘carpe diem’ and ‘follow your dream’ gospel, Millerick’s message is bleaker, or at least a lot more realistic: that sometimes your dreams will turn to crap. They did for him, which is why he found himself having a breakdown in a TGI Friday’s on his 27th birthday.

This is the story of how he got there, now there’s enough distance from that sobering moment. In fact, it’s two stories, with a few side notes thrown in, which he contrives to work in concert in this neatly constructed show.

The leading strand concerns his first stint as a director, helming a documentary about how a school in Birmingham (which he hates) was using ballroom dancing (which he hates) to inspire children (which he hates). But he got through it with dreams of accolades, of being the next Louis Theroux, and of forging his way in the career he had set his heart on. It’s no spoiler to say that none of that worked out, though he’s certainly found the funny in his failure now.

His second story is about his very first job, which he hoped would be the start of that journey to the Oscars podium – being a ‘cable basher’ at the 2001 Reading Festival. It’s a lowly task, but it involves being on stage with the camera crew, in front of tens of thousands of people and close to rock icons – a job full of excitement for any 18-year-old. However, the anecdotes he got from his encounters with Marilyn Manson and Eminem don’t quite imbue him with the reflected glory he might have hoped. Luckily, humiliation is funnier.

Alongside these two key strands are observational stand-up routines, such of his love for Amazon Prime Now, which lets him exaggerate his persona of a barely functioning slob, reluctant to leave the house. Though the very obvious work he’s put into this show, with the aid of director John Gordillo, gives lie to the idea that he’s a completely feckless layabout.

His dramatic delivery allows him to spin stories to his whim, while he know what to emphasise and when to wring the most humour out what he can now project as the heroic failures of a hapless naif. Story is front and centre – more, even, than the personalities in it, who are depicted effectively, but a bit thinly – yet there’s a pretty constant supply of laughs, driven home hard in this cracking yarn.

Review date: 5 Aug 2016
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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