Brendan Hunt: Five Years In Amsterdam

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

Every stand-up has their Amsterdam story: a debauched, hedonistic lost weekend of drinks, drugs and partying – even if few stage anecdotes go much beyond idle boasting of how wild and crazy the comic is.

Brendan Hunt’s tale has all the usual ingredients, only his lost weekend lasted five years. A naïve, awkward innocent in America, he stumbled into the Dutch-based Boom Chicago improv group in his early twenties and suddenly found his horizons blown away in the depraved new world.

He hits all the expected anecdotes, from his first ecstasy tablet soon after arriving to outlandish, uninhibited behaviour in a huge fetish party just before he left. He acted, and dressed, like a jerk for his entire time there, and now invites us to look back at his idiocy with self-effacing charm.

What sets this show apart is Hunt’s brilliant performance. From the start, when he demonstrates his improv skills by busking a song suggested from the uninspired suggestions of a badly-chosen volunteer, to the grand finale, he doesn’t put a foot wrong.

Outside the drug-and-sex world, he opens up about his relationships, tells of an uncomfortable moment of potential racism on the terraces of Ajax, and spreads the word ‘gezelling’, a sort of cosy, feelgood emotion among those you love.

It’s apt, as that what his show is all about. Beyond the outrageous behaviour, there’s a real humanity to his warm storytelling. It’s not gag-driven, and only occasionally laugh-aloud funny, but it’s definitely time well spent. Whether the same can be said about Hunt’s five years in Amsterdam is another question entirely.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

Review date: 1 Jan 2007
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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