JAMIE BOWEN: Rational Fear Of Concrete
27/04/2010 - 01/05/2010
Basement Theatre, Lower Greys Ave, Auckland
05/05/2010 - 08/05/2010
NZ International Comedy Festival 2010
Show duration: 1 hour
Plucky and chuckly
Review by John Smythe 28th Apr 2010
His set, or should I say setting, is suggestive of suburbia: a rug, hat stand and standard lamp, plusa little keyboard set-up that houses his amp and hides his running order. Not much concrete to fear here, except it does denote a concrete decision to settle down, which can be a fearful prospect.
Jamie Bowen’s relaxed and chatty style, punctuated with musical interludes extracted from a ukulele and a sampler pedal, makes for an engaging hour, although sometimes his gabbled delivery in throwaway moments leaves us puzzled. He’s thinking some gags haven’t worked – “Won’t do that one tomorrow” – whereas they simply have’t been heard.
Linking his anecdotes to his titular theme – A Rational Fear of Concrete – is an excellent way of giving form to discursive material and taking leaps into places he might never have otherwise gone – e.g. the town of Concrete in Washington State.
It leads to recollections of his prepubescent skateboard, BMX and rollerblade days and on to the less tangible experiences of falling over socially, en route to facing the aforementioned concrete decision to ground himself.
Musically he proves you can sing a bad news song on a ukulele and that learning to love yourself can be enhanced with a good dose of rhythm, melody and wit.
Declaring he’s given up smoking earns him what he claims is “the weirdest heckle yet” on opening night. He ends on a high by sharing his delight in his grandfather’s funeral and leaves us – thanks to the sampler – with the sound of our own singing.
I’d call this show plucky and chuckly and well worth a visit.
Copyright © belongs to the reviewer