The Classic Studio, Auckland

28/04/2017 - 06/05/2017

Fringe Bar, 26-32 Allen St, Te Aro, Wellington

09/05/2017 - 13/05/2017

NZ International Comedy Festival 2017

Production Details

I’m back with a brand new show. They say misery seeks company. Nah, I just need an audience, guys.

An illustrated, comic reworking of three classic stories of making a deal with the wrong guy; Rumplestiltskin; Faustus and the Blues Guitarist, selling his soul at the Crossroads.

The show is about expectations, it’s about creativity, it’s about failure.

“Probably the most absorbing show I have seen. Completely spellbinding.” ✮✮✮✮ – Chortle, UK

“Birdman is the all-round package; witty, controversial, hip, topical and silly. A master of timing and physical comedy, he made me laugh so hard it hurt” – BBC

Twitter – @birdmanwatching

Instagram – @markusbirdman

Auckland Shows
The Classic Studio
Fri 28 April – Sat 6 May 2017
Monday:  $20
Tuesday – Thursday:  $25
Friday & Saturday:  $30
Group 5+:  $25
*service fee may apply

No wheelchair access
Occasional bad language
Adult themes
R18 unless with a parent or guardian

Wellington Shows
The Fringe Bar
Tue 9 – Sat 13 May 2017
Tuesday & Wednesday:  $22
Thursday – Saturday:  $28
Concession:  $25
Group 5+:  $25
*service fee may apply

Wheelchair accessible
Occasional course language
Adult themes
Fringe Bar is R18 unless with a parent or legal guardian

Theatre , Solo , Comedy ,

1 hr

Stories torn apart in the quest for gold

Review by Candice Lewis 29th Apr 2017

We are gathered together in the Classic Studio, an intimate upper room. The lights are dim and the man on the low stage is seated. Markus Birdman is hot, and yes, I mean that in a sexy way. I fall in love with him in less than three minutes and feel my eyes shining with delight. I realise this confession might be somewhat nauseating, but it’s true.

Age, fatherhood and references to past shows in which he explored specific difficulties such as experiencing a stroke or having his marriage end make him extremely vulnerable and likeable from the outset. He is an excellent storyteller and even when he isn’t saying something particularly funny, he is compelling.

In this show he is focused on his 12 year-old daughter and also speaks occasionally and fleetingly of his own father, The Pastor. He recounts how his dad’s favourite story in the Bible was the one where God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac to prove his devotion. The young Birdman asks his dad if he would do that to him.

“Son, I’d [spoiler averted].”

As with all art, who knows where ‘truth’ begins and embellishment takes over? But we certainly get the point. Who’d want a God that behaves like a bunny boiler? (Yes, a 1980s movie reference placing me in the over 40 category!) Birdman addresses aging in a way that might not make a lot of sense to those under 40 – it’s hard to believe there will come a day when you really don’t give as much of a fuck about everything. This isn’t meant to be depressing or condescending either – there is something liberating in it. He exhorts (I love using religious language to review an Atheist) us not to die with our “song unsung” and refers to Henry David Thoreau’s quote on the mass of us leading “lives of quiet desperation”.

Tonight he’s taking a risk with the re-telling of Rumpelstiltskin in honour of his daughter. This is done with a screen on which his own artwork appears along with dodgy pre-recorded voiceovers. Rumpelstiltskin is Scottish and as hungry for a baby as Madonna (though one could argue he isn’t going to the same lengths). 

He breaks the story down into small chunks that are bookmarked with further observations and insights. The artwork appears to be inspired by the cut-out cartoon style of Monty Python and the silly voice-overs take me back to my mother putting on Python’s ‘Live At Drury Lane’ almost every single morning for the year that I was 13.

Although the story is an amusing device that gives his show structure, it’s when he speaks to us directly that he is most engaging and funny. I’d prefer that he did the voice overs live rather than as pre-recordings, I’d enjoy seeing him try to do a Scottish accent in person. This is not ‘stand-up comedy’ in the style to which you may be accustomed (which is just as well since he is determined to sit).  

Many stand-up comics tear themselves apart in the name of a laugh, yet Birdman appears to be tearing the stories apart and looking for the gold. As an audience we are not always united in what we find hilarious; I sometimes smile as others guffaw, and at one point I snort gracelessly with laughter when a few others emit a moderate chortle. I collect myself and wipe tears from my eyes: the bizarre and disgusting description of his agent has made my night.  

As I leave, he is standing by the door and thanking each person for coming. I stop myself from hugging him and smile as if I am a completely ‘normal’ person. It’s been a good night and if you want something a little bit out of the box, then this Bird is for you. 


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