Yianni\'s Head

Note: This review is from 2006

Review by Steve Bennett

This is a real gem of a show, buried in the wrong, much-too-late
slot. However it is testament to the skill of the writing and
the warmth of his performance that a sparklingly intelligent,
emotionally aware piece succeeded with an audience that included
a quota of late-night drunks who sat with rapt attention when
they'd probably been more at home with an hour of wank jokes
and stereotypes.

Australian Yianni takes the idea of examining the four controlling
voices in his head, considering the drives and desires of love,
fear, libido and logic and their different contributions to his
relationships. He creates a magical hour of unsentimental but
heartfelt, vulnerable comedy. He manages to do sincere without
making the audience want to puke, as he brings plenty of clear-sighted
humorous honesty to the table.

He characterises the voices, rather well, with clipped English
for logic, neurotic, squeaky for fear (think Aussie Woody Allen),
dashingly French Pierre for libido, and pretty much his natural
voice for love.

The stories of his childhood, early chatting up gambits (failed),
the quoted observations that would have been better left unsaid
are hugely entertaining and the transition seamless between anecdotes
and the battling internal monologues. With a less assured performer
the conceit of different voices might have been really clunking
­ one of his mates had apparently suggested using hats to
illustrate the point ­ but lucky for us Yianni is a subtle
actor and he chooses to use this skill.

It's very funny and rings true, like the best comedy writing
that clarifies and crystallises your own views, rather than waffling
around with deliberately surreal or outrageous observations.
It's a refreshing, highly amusing hour, he engages with the audience,
very likeably performed and backed with fine writing.

Julia Chamberlain

Review date: 1 Jan 2006
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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