Normal shows begin by politely asking for phones to go away. Tim Minchin’s show began with an explicit shout at the audience! Immediately, we knew that this wasn’t going to be a normal show. The stage was black. A spotlight came up on Tim Minchin and a solitary grand piano. The evening began.
With wild hair and barefeet, (not dissimilar to Jesus, he joked) Minchin performed song after song with pure dexterity and artistry. His virtuosic piano abilities completely amazed the audience and we were greatly surprised when the black curtain dropped during ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll nerd’ to reveal an outstanding and mulit-talented band!
It was joyous for the audience to see the genuine friendships within the band as Tim banterously mocked his greatly talented fellow performers. The musicians were very much incorporated into the performance, even to the extent of a guitarist sitting upon the piano! Other stand out musical moments have to include the gorgeous quality of sound from the trombonist and fantastic jazz improvisations from all.
Of course, Minchin isn’t just a ginger genius or the ultimate rock ‘n’ roll nerd, he is also a lively and skilful comedian. This was very evident with both his monologues and songs being full of priceless satire and Minchin’s well backed-up, but rather obscene, opinions! The profanities continued throughout the evening as Tim ruthlessly yet hilariously shared his iconoclastic views.
The exceedingly adroit musician managed to fit in many of his classics, including a personal favourite of mine: ‘Prejudice’ in which he stopped, looked out to the devoted fans and just asked if anyone didn’t know where he was going with his ‘six seemingly harmless letters’. Of course, he was heading towards the brilliant punch-line of prejudice; that only a ginger can call another ginger ‘ginger’. (If you haven’t heard the song before, may I recommend that you look it up rather soon!)
We were also treated to the ‘rock opera’ that is ‘Cheese’, with singing, skipping, French speaking, laying atop of the piano, beret wearing, cheese puns on the level of ‘fondues and fon-don’ts’ and ‘I cannot camen-bear it anymore’ and simply 8 minutes of pure joy from those onstage and in the audience! Part way through, Minchin claimed that he thought this ode to the greatest love of his life was the best thing he, or anyone had ever written. As ludicrous as it sounds, part of me wants to agree!
There were moments of heartfelt emotion where Tim told us about his lovely wife, before splitting our sides as he sang ‘If I didn’t have you, someone else would do’. With spot-on comedic timing and hysterical improvisations, even mid song, Tim kept the audience smiling and roaring with laughter throughout. There was, however, some genuine emotion towards the end as the band beautifully sang in stunning harmonies which further emphasised their immense musical abilities and passion.
As I left the theatre, I heard someone make a remark about the astonishing number of different genres that one man can pull off to such a high level and I couldn’t agree more, for we heard ballads, rock songs, jazz and so much more. I personally left the theatre just thinking, ‘wow’. Award-winning composer and actor Tim Minchin is an exceptionally clever and entertaining person with musical abilities unlike anyone else.
That was not a normal show, it was a Tim Minchin show.