review star review star review star review star review blank star

The Dr Brown Brown Brown Brown Brown Show

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Steve Bennett

Kids are a tough crowd. Without the inhibitions that stop them chatting among themselves or loudly giving their instant feedback on the performance, it takes a certain sort of act to win them over.

And Dr Brown – a wordless clownish chump in bobble-hat and safety goggles whose every move is narrated by a ukulele-strumming man in a tiger suit –  does so perfectly.

The key is that he is a child in a man’s body, with an innocence, mischief and curiosity, if not the intelligence, youngsters can instantly relate to. Just witness his eagerness to ride his bike, even when he’s told it’s not time yet – a scene repeated every day in every family home.

But Brown, the alter ego of American Phil Burgers, has timing and physicality as well as empathy. Even something as apparently simple as eating a banana still in its skin is executed with a perfect hesitancy, just enough for his knee-high audience to react to the man’s stupidity. Or witness his poignant lip-trembling sadness as he tries to put on a brave face when he can’t find his beloved bike.

Such emotive comic performance reminiscent of Mr Bean at his best – and, as a highly skilled silent act, Dr Brown certainly has all the credentials to repeat that international success.

This all sounds a little academic. More important is that the kids adore him, as proved by the wave of eager volunteers who gush excitedly towards the stage when he appeals for help with a task such as getting his boots on. When it comes to the show’s big stunt, the stage is literally covered with children, as if he were a modern-day Pied Piper.

He interacts with them expertly. There are certain cues the audience react to, such as a pantomiming ‘he’s behind you’, but there’s also an air of unpredictability, thanks to the youngsters’ tendency to shout out the most random things. Dr Brown entertains such interruptions and has fun with them before seamlessly returning to his script.

Much kids’ comedy obsesses itself with the snot and shit and farts that youngsters find so innately funny. Dr Brown includes a deliciously bad taste example of this, but it’s not an obsession, just one funny scene among a dozen mini-gems.

Children become completely engaged with the action, and squeal with delight at his antics throughout this near-perfect hour.

Review date: 11 Apr 2012
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

What do you think?

We see you are using AdBlocker software. Chortle relies on advertisers to fund this website so it’s free for you, so we would ask that you disable it for this site. Our ads are non-intrusive and relevant. Help keep Chortle viable.