John Kearns: Double Take and Fade Away 4**** - One4Review
one4review | On 11, Aug 2019
John Kearns is such a virtuoso performer that an audience is irrelevant. Some performers (and this is no criticism of those) respond to receptive, enthused, alert audiences and are inspired or goaded to up their game, feed the reciprocal cycle of laughter/appreciation. Not so Mr Kearns. This felt more like watching theatre, in that Mr Kearns would bring the same energy, the same conviction, and the same searing performance to two people or two hundred. Useful in a very hot venue tending to sleepiness.
It felt like theatre too in the theatricality of the characterisation, and in the poetry thrown in at the end – about high school proms, and other people’s gardens, and what you would tell your younger self. It’s got a sense of profundity about it – which isn’t pretentious, and probably comes from the inscrutability of the whole thing – and it’s not a roaring-laugh-fest (more of a contemplate-and-be-gently-amused fest).
Some people – including me at points – weren’t with it. Sixty per cent of the audience were laughing and I was wondering why. But it’s one of those shows where about half the experience happens after you’ve left the venue, and you come to realise you might not quite know what was going on, but you do know you were present for something special.
Reviewed by Laura
Monkey Barrell 3
16:45 (until 24th)