Late Nite Birdmann
Show type: Melbourne 2005
This show has not yet got a description.
You know from the very start that Birdmann is aiming for a classy, sophisticated brand of comedy. Dressed in smart black and white suit and riffing to a hipster jazz soundtrack, he has all the style of a swinging cat straight from Sixties Greenwich Village.
The ideas he plays with sparkle with originality, approaching the art of comedy from the most obtuse angles. Itís all very quirky, postmodern and surreal. See how he boasts of how short he is of opening lines, now be impressed by his painstaking deconstruction of his rudimentary pirate impression.
It is impossible not admire and respect both his sheer inventiveness and the chilled detachment with which Birdmann (aka Trent Baumann) performs. But do you laugh at it? Only sporadically.
Yet just as the nagging suspicion that the show is going to disappear up its own fundament kicks in, something wonderful happens. The performance starts picking up momentum and that aloof persona thaws. allowing a more madcap vaudevillian spirit to break through. And you can pinpoint the very moment when the sands shift: itís when he pours himself a cup of teaÖ through his nostrils.
From here on in the clowning, though still subtle, injects a more playful spirit to his act, without once sacrificing the brilliantly ingenious creativity that makes him unique. Actual jokes start appearing, and heís no longer too cool for school. Now itís real fun, especially the slo-mo juggling.
The pace and energy continues to build as the show reaches its ridiculous and satisfying climax. In the end, Birdmann has created something special and precious; something that reward the patience through those slower early routines. If only he could accelerate those, this show would be perfect.
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Melbourne, April 2005