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Dr Brown Because
Dr Ettrick-Hogg Presents Manly Specimens
Drags Aloud At The Movies
The Durham Revue: Working Title
Dr Brown Because
Dr Brown Because is for anyone tired of winsome witticisms and predictable punch-lines. A largely wordless act of absurdist mime and downright uncomfortable weirdness, the show may or may not involve handcuffs, olives, board games, dancing, sunscreen and a transvestite. Leaving audiences delightfully bewildered, Dr Brown goes strange places, turns left and then goes even stranger.
Dr Brown Because
Rarely have I felt so much like I was at a club where I wasn’t a member. Everywhere around me rang our hearty guffaws, screeches of excitement and gasps of anticipation, while I sat vaguely bemused, vaguely bored by a man doing very little. Had I watched Dr Brown’s show on TV, I’d have been convinced it had been given an exaggerated canned laughter track, as surely no one could be more than vaguely amused by this childish drivel, let alone left gasping for breath.
However everyone else guffawed at literally nothing; as the stage lights came on and the music blasts out, but no comedian. Several times this happens. Eventually he wheels himself to the stage on an office swivel chair, wearing a crash helmet, carrying an oversized suitcase and chomping on a banana. This, apparently is hilarious, especially when he offers the fruit to those sitting on the aisle.
As the non-verbal Dadaist performance continued, he made himself breakfast, sloshing the ingredients around the stage and into the audience, in scenes that make the gunge tank look sophisticated.
But even though it might sometimes feel it, this is most definitely not a children’s show. There is an undercurrent of awkward, predatory, homoeroticsm, as he gropes, caresses and kisses his audience, which has a bullying undertone, despite the apparent compliance. Oh, and he also fingers a toy doll at one point, for extra hilarity.
Ofter there doesn’t seem to be much joy in the performance, either, it’s all about causing discomfort. Dr Brown is no childlike clown, but rather an arrogant, dysfunctional, intimidating figure who induces no sympathy.
That said, I did raise a smile a few times. His juvenile mocking of some of the audience response is nicely immature, as is his insistence on getting us to clap along arrhythmically to a song, rewinding it to the beginning each and every time we screwed it up. And the two scenes that most resemble traditional comedy sketches, albeit surreal ones are enjoyably bonkers, rather than sectionably so. The business with him receiving visitors including Jesus and Santa is reasonably witty, while the Guess Who? game is an enjoyable kind of strange – at least until he ruins it with another gratuitous sexual payoff
But for the rest of the gang the whole thing was a side-splittingly hilarious from start to finish, as they whooped and hollered like a hen party as he stripped to his Speedos, or spontaneously joined in with an enthusiastic rendition of Total Eclipse Of The Heart. Maybe you’ll be one of those people who are swept away with the madness – and by the constellation of stars that adorn his poster, there are plenty of critics who do – but I’m not one of them.
|Date of live review: Tuesday 17th Aug, '10|
Review by Steve Bennett
Steve, sorry I have to agree with the others, except that I had to hold back from 'guffawing' so I could giggle in anticipation waiting for his next move. My daughter and I came out of his show exhilerated thatb it wasn't the usual stand up thing we come to accept and talked vigorously about the show for some time afterward. I am really disappointed I don't get to see his next show so my imagination can be taken places it rarely is these days. I think you have to completely let go if you attend his shows and let your natural instincts take over! Go everyone, he's fantastic!!!
Another idiotic review from this Chortle plonker. It's a great show.
Steve, I have just read your review and can't quite understand just how someone could miss the point by so far. I saw Dr Brown's show at the Fringe with five friends and we all thought it was one of the best shows we saw at the Fringe. The only other show that cam close was Russell Kane...and he won the Best Comedy Award this year. Dr Brown is a genius and its a shame that a lot of people may not go to see him because of your misguided review.
This is a 4 star show by any sense of imagination. Ignore the Chortle review, it is one of the most poorly judged ones I have read on this site.
Mr Steve, I thought he was brilliant. Dada at its best. Perhaps he's just not for you, but I'd recommend his show to anyone.
Mr Steve - I love Dr Brown with a passion that I usually reserve for strippers and crack whores - he is a genius - but maybe you need to be a happy low life to be able to recognise this?