Festival Preview: The Birdmann

The Birdmann is an Australian circus/vaudeville/sideshow performer who combines magic, theatre, circus skills, and inspired nonsense to create a show that is unique. Acts include plastic-bag juggling, knife-throwing, and nostril tea-drinking. The act has displayed in fifteen countries internationally, and goes directly from the NY Clown Festival back home to the Melbourne Fringe in Australia.

Here’s what The Groggy Squirrel, an independent publication that reviews Australian comedy has to say about the Birdmann (reviewing a previous show, Birdmannifesto:

The Birdmann is a curious creature. A character comic who has invested so much into the one character that you find yourself forgetting that this is just a persona. A performer who performs tricks that would normally be the domain of clowns with a straight-faced intensity that makes them as impressive as any serious circus performer.

Every element of this show, from the opening “is this a dagger I see before me” (no, it’s an umbrella) to the crab impersonations and costumes screams absurdity, but the straight-faced delivery ensures that the audience never feels lost or confused. These things might seem ridiculous coming from any other performer, but here they are just part of the Birdmann experience.

While this show is very tightly scripted and performed, Birdmann is also comfortable breaking out into casual improvisation to deal with any unforeseen input. Constant creaking of the roof and the late arrival of enough punters to double his audience were dealt with amusingly and without any break from the world that he has created for us.

There’s something uniquely special about Birdmannifesto, a quality to it that screams “this show is a great show”. It’s not the funniest show in the festival, and the circus skills aren’t the most impressive I’ve seen, but something about it as a whole makes it stand out from the crowd. The fact that this is also one of the cheapest shows in the festival (only $10 in a laugh pack or on Tuesdays) makes this arguably the best value for money to be found in the festival. I can’t imagine how anyone, regardless of their comedy tastes, could walk out of this show and not feel thoroughly entertained.

You can find out more about his work at http://www.myspace.com/trentbaumann
His website http://www.thebirdmann.com.au/ is currently under construction.

The Birdmann will be at the NY Clown Festival at the Brick on:

Sat 9/6 at 7pm
Wed 9/10 at 10pm
Sat 9/13 at 9pm
Tue 9/16 at 7pm

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