The dingy, crumbling environs of the Tuxedo Cat’s Yellow Room provided an apt stage for a show that has more than a whiff of the chaotic. Dr Brown’s shtick is ingenious: take a performance-art train wreck, point it straight at the audience, and continue to drive its wheels off.
To accurately and justly describe the contents of his show would be no mean feat in itself – but to do so would spoil the unpredictability upon which it relies. After all, it’s a comedy show where the star sarcastically apologises for the supposed lack of laughs.
It’s as baffling as it is wonderful, and as awkward as it is hilarious.
A protracted wrestle with the curtain and a series of intentionally-botched musical cues kick off the mostly-silent routine, and set the tone for a polarising evening.
Without warning, the good doctor begins by clambering over the heads of an astonished and perturbed audience. It takes guts to open your show with such a confrontational move but it takes outright fearlessness to repeat it. Which Dr Brown does, several times.
The humour lies in Dr Brown’s desire to entertain in the face of technical issues, but also his refusal to let the audience settle. A noise-association game with the crowd quickly descends into farce as his movements become steadily more absurd. He halts routines mid-way through to eyeball uncomfortable looking audience members and stare-down hecklers, before re-starting them from the very beginning.
Dr Brown’s mannerisms are delivered with subtlety, but it’s a subtlety that never gets lost among the tight confines of the underground venue. Confrontational, intrusive, maddening and often riotous, it’s a show that requires a leap of faith – but if you’re prepared to take it, you’ll be rewarded with a treat. And one hell of a weird one too.
Dr Brown Befrdfgth is on every night at 9.45pm between March 1st- March 17th. Tickets are available online and from good Fringe ticket selling venues.