Saturday, 6 July 2019

THEATRE REVIEW: Don't Bother - The King's Arms, Salford.


Broccan Tyzack-Carlin is an award-winning performance poet, and “Don’t Bother” is his first show. It is a night of comedy poetry mixed with nihilism, performed by a very expressive and charismatic personality, and this evening’s show took place at the Kings Arms as part of the Greater Manchester Fringe Festival.

We were greeted by the sight of Tyzack-Carlin twerking with his back to us as we entered the space. He initially went into a frenetic bout of dancing to gangster rap, and then assured us that there would be no more of that this evening, got out the first of a series of little notebooks, and began reading out his poems.

They were on a very mixed range of topics. One highlight was based on his experiences as a primary school teaching assistant. He began reading out Beatrix Potter’s “The Tale Of Peter Rabbit”, complete with the original charming illustrations projected onto the back wall, got as far as Peter Rabbit’s father being made into a pie – then tossed out the book, and brought out his own, homemade children’s book: “Happy As Larry”, and began reading that instead. It was a modern take on the same violent premise. Only it featured pet dogs instead of wild rabbits. And the many ways they met grisly ends at the hands of Happy Larry. Because if you’re going to read anything as bloodthirsty as “Peter Rabbit” to innocent children, why not this as well?

Another highlight was focused around the former craze for men’s T-shirts with the phrase “Dip me in chocolate and throw me to the lesbians” on them. After going through the various sexual politics and their absurdism that surrounded this T-shirt, Tyzack-Carlin then read out his poem set in a futuristic dystopia ruled by lesbians where sacrificial victims are dipped in chocolate and thrown to the head lesbian in appeasement. This poem caused the women sitting in front of me to almost fall off their chairs, as they were laughing so hard. (And a man offered him fifteen pounds for the T-shirt.)

Broccan Tyzack-Carlin commented early on that he suffers from depression, and he factored this into the performance in a very clever way. Most of the time, he was very charming and warm, interacting with the audience, even borderline flirting with them (a poor man called Neil incurred a lot of this) – and then, sometimes even mid-sentence, the lighting would abruptly flick to a greenish state, and Tyzack-Carlin’s face would become cold, still and focused. Then he would move over to his little table, pick up one special notebook, and read another instalment of a long poem called “Don’t Bother.”

“Don’t Bother” started off as apparently being about Neil Armstrong as a little boy, dreaming of going into space. Then some British references got thrown in, so possibly it was a different little British boy called Neil Armstrong, dreaming of going into space. The outlook on life got increasingly bleak and with a sense of meaninglessness – until suddenly, it all got tied up with the other threads of the show into a big, glorious and witty finale.

Broccan Tyzack-Carlin is a magnetic performer with an excellent sense of comic timing, and he is well worth seeing.


Reviewer - Thalia Terpsichore
on - 5/7/19

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