If you’re after a quirky show that is fun – and filled with great music – then Michelle Brasier’s “Space Tortoise” is the show for you. Although it’s probably not the show for everyone.
In the interest of full disclosure, the author was 10 minutes late, so I missed the opening moments of the performance, which led to some initial confusion on my part. However, the theme of the show is simple enough to be picked up fairly quickly, and it doesn’t take much to find oneself laughing along with the show’s silly antics.
Without giving too much away, the show does follow a nice and simple “story” of sorts, which gives it some sort of structure. The songs are used to punctuate each “act” are very well chosen – ranging from the happy and slightly anthemic through to the overdramatic (Adele managed to make an appearance, if that’s any indication). Fortunately, the songs are carefully truncated to allow for their impact to be felt without taking too much time from the rest of the performance.
One thing about this show that was noticeable immediately was the fact that Michelle Brasier’s performance was full of nervous energy. She came across as very enthusiastic, and it is possible to see how this could put some people off. Her movements, voice, and jokes rely on a brand of silliness that can come close to being over the top. Fortunately, due to the small nature of the venue, this erratic behaviour actually works quite well – it allowed for a large amount of audience interaction, which included a lot of flirtation with some guy called Roger in the front row (good work Rog!) and a game of beer pong.
There were even hugs for the audience at the end of the show, which was a very nice touch.
One advantage with the nervous energy coming from Brasier was that whenever mistakes were made, they could easily be played off as part of the character. Considering the quirky nature of the show, Brasier’s performance gave her room to breathe if she slipped up – she could (and probably did) play it off as part of the strange circumstances of her performance. The constant breaking of the fourth wall helped with this as well.
One minor criticism would be actually levelled at her long-suffering keyboard accompanist. This author has worked as a musician supporting shows before, and understands that it is necessary to keep the attention on the main performance. Furthermore, you need to be serious on some level, if only so you hit the right notes (the vocalist can miss notes so long as she recovers, but a wrong sustained piano chord is going to be noticed). However, there could have been slightly more smiles up on stage – especially considering that the keyboardist was important to the “plot” at some stages of the show. Considering how manic and friendly Brasier’s performance was, a little smile here and there doesn’t hurt.
If you prefer the more relaxed “show” style of comedy, then Space Tortoise isn’t for you. However, if you want something a little different (a break from the usual stand-ups that dominate the comedy scene), then Michelle Brasier is a good place to start. Fun, energetic, and suitably quirky (without being too try-hard), the show is a great way to spend an evening.
Space Tortoise is on at the Melbourne Town Hall until the 17th of April. Tickets range between $18 and $24, and are available online and at the box office.