Markus Birdman is no stranger to our shores, having performed in New Zealand’s International Comedy Festival for the past three consecutive years. After seeing the opening of his latest offering, “Grimm Realities” (playing now at the Classic Studio), it is really no surprise to me that he can pack a venue and even less surprise as to why New Zealand audiences love this British performer.
The premise of Grimm Realities is simple; Birdman artfully takes us on a whimsical journey through a series of interconnected stories about the struggles, joys and woes of fatherhood. It is frank, honest and always entertaining. However, what makes this show different from your average anecdote-based stand-up gig is the effortless way in which Birdman integrates visual elements to guide the audience and provide structure.
The use of an overhead projector allows Birdman to demonstrate his proficiency as an illustrator, with twistedly brilliant cartoons accompanying his recitation of two reworked, childhood fairy-tales; those of Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood.
Not only are these stories hilarious, but they tie very strongly into the main themes of the show: family, parenting and coming-of-age.
Markus Birdman is a master storyteller, charming the audience into the palm of his hand with his casual and affable approach to performing. Like he says at the start of his gig, this is “not a picking on people show”, rather if he asks the audience a question, he genuinely wants to know the answer. The laughs come thick and fast, both from the recitations and his anecdotes, demonstrating Birdman’s skill for punchlines; his comic timing is perfect.
Overall, Markus Birdman’s “Grimm Realities” is an outstanding start to this year’s Comedy Festival and is on at The Classic Studio Tue 28 April – Sat 2 May, Tue 5 – Sat 9 May, 8.45pm.
An example of observational comedy done flawlessly, I can give this show nothing but praise. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by Stewart Lund.