Combining music and comedy with a serious ‘message’ is a difficult task for any performer to undertake. Bill Hicks successfully delivered top-notch comedy with a cogent political message. Billy Connolly penned a number of highly amusing comic ditties. But rarely has a stand-up comedian of any note dared to address all three disciplines in one act. Ex-pat Tim Minchin is not one to shy away from a challenge.
In this last show of his Orchestral project Tim Minchin covered a wide range of subjects from the frustrations of a middle class bedroom rock star (Rock n Roll Nerd) to the authenticity of evangelical Christian miracles (Thank you God for Fixing the Cataracts of Sam’s Mum), the similarities of love and cancer (You Grow on Me) to the Catholic Church sex scandal (Pope Song). It’s fitting that Tim should get such an accomplished big sound for the big ideas which inform his songs and Adelaide’s orchestra led by Conductor Ian Grandage didn’t let the international comedy star down.
A mixture of now familiar old favourites with newer songs which push some of Minchin’s ideological themes to the fore pleased a packed house at the AEC however it could be argued that whilst some of the songs in the second half of the show were not lacking in intellectual scope they did not produce the belly laughs of Prejudice and Rock and Roll Nerd. At points after the intermissions the audience could have been forgiven for wondering when Richard Dawkins had acquired such a sense of style and profane vocabulary as Minchin lamented the ludicrousness of the sacred religious text before launching into South Park-esque Pope Song.
On the whole, Minchin’s inspired idea to bulk up his anthems of modern hypocrisy with an orchestral backing paid dividends as the show offered exquisite musical performance to match the thought-provoking comedic material. Some of the comic’s more mature ideas are yet to match the wit of earlier compositions but this needn’t matter when the music is so rich.
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