Tim Minchin: Ready For This?

Note: This review is from 2008

Review by Steve Bennett

For a few horrible minutes, it seems that festival favourite Tim Minchin has lost his magic. He’s set the quality bar high for himself, but the first couple of songs in his new show struggle to clear it.

The rock and roll intro lacked some of the irony he’s usually associated with, and the twist in his song about prejudice is easily guessed by at least half the crowd. There a bit of Bill-Bailey style messing with the effects pedals, and some hesitant audience banter that doesn’t really go anywhere. This is starting to look shaky…

But, thankfully, all suddenly clicks back into place, as he launches into some brilliant new songs and monologues, scratching at some obviously heartfelt issues. The lines get funnier, and the big production values amplify them, rather than seeming like a crutch. The Minchin we know an love is back.

Sure, the anti-religious song is hardly breaking new comedy ground, but it’s brilliantly done, and incisively to-the-point; and his honest, rigorously forensic examination of love and relationships is a brilliant subversion of trite R&B ballads.

Even his stand-up, previously his weakest weapon compared to the genius of the songs, is coming into its own, with frank talk about his wife and baby; and a nine-minute beat poem (yes, really) about his run-in with an idiotic new-age hippy is a brilliant mix of intelligence, righteous intolerance, and inspired jokes saying what needs to be said.

This is the sort of quality that’s guaranteed to get him good reviews. Well, this and the threat that if he doesn’t, he’ll eke his revenge in a beautifully vicious comedy song. The Guardian’s Phil Daoust gets this honour, as three years of festering resentment are released in a bilious three minutes that the audience easily understand.

He closes with a big, toe-tapping showstopper, sending the audience happy into the night, the memories of the wobbly opening long banished. His place as the foremost musical comic working in Britain remains unassailed.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

Review date: 1 Jan 2008
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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