Brendon Burns: All My Love, All My Rage
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2005
Part II of the, 'Burnsy vs Brendon' Trilogy, in which Brendon covers religion and spirituality as well as man's fear of loving himself and his fellow man. Like all sequels this one has an annoying cliff hanger. The final part of the trilogy will be out in 2006. .
Those who saw Brendon Burns’ fabulous 2004 show will know that the fiancé he thought was ‘the one’ dumped him for a DJ shortly before last year’s festival.
Well, guess what? He’s still angry about it. Very angry indeed. He’s not the forgive and forget type, it seems.
But then self-righteous rage has always been Burns’ forte, and despite his pledges last year to kill off the aggressive, shouty stage persona of Burnsy, he’s back with more of the same froth-mouthed fury.
It’s almost like he realised rebranding himself might be a marketing disaster, so he’s reverted to Burns Classic – just as Coke once did.
From the get-go he’s as in-your-face as ever – literally at times; screaming his material just millimetres from a front-row fan. He teases us into conspiring with him to share his most disgusting tales. ‘Wanna hear the worst thing I’ve said,’ he says, seeking consensus for what’s to come. Of course we do; although we might have second thoughts when he tells us it happened after giving oral sex to a woman with no kidneys.
And this is supposed to be the thoughtful, introspective Brendon, remember? Elsewhere we hear tell of hermaphrodites and his son getting sexual gratification from a toy shark. It’s typical Burnsy material, and the audience he flatters into believing are ‘his people’ lap it up.
But herein lies the main structural problem for a show billed as a second part of a trilogy: it covers a pretty similar journey to the first: From the filth and fury with which he starts to his gradual mellowing and self-realisation at the end.
Clearly, despite the conclusive nature of last year show, Burns still had issues to resolve. He spent much of the past 12 months high on mushrooms, by his own account, and ended up hearing voices in his head when he was at his most self-pitying low.
From that moment of clarity, he decided to get a Glastonbury audience shroomed up, too, and try for ‘closure’ as psychologists would put it, with his unfaithful ex. That gig didn’t quite go to plan, and turned very weird indeed.
Yet from the jaws of disaster, Burns has snatched a decent show. His powerful grandstanding performance, which remains second to none, and his ability to spin a nifty turn of phrase have done him proud.
So while this inescapably feels like a ‘holding’ show to bridge between last year’s self-contained journey and the concluding follow-up Burns promises for 2006, there is still enough Burns Classic to savour. It’s the real thing.