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Published September 23, 2019

Kieran Bullock Builds IKEA Furniture on Stage and Talks to the Audience. It’s all there in the name and it’s hard to say what I was expecting, really. The show premise is a simple one. Bullock stands on stage, drinks a bit of beer, gets our a flat packed piece of IKEA and attempts to put it together while having a bit of a chat with the audience.

There’s really no hidden gimmick in this show – I can’t emphasise enough that it is exactly what it says in the title. Luckily for the audience at the “world premiere” (as Bullock put it), the awkward amusement of what was happening was enough to leave most viewers in a permanent state of giggles – clear amusement coming from the energy of the crowd. This is not a great show if you’re not a fan of audience interaction – a lot of the premise of the production is based on Bullock speaking to the audience, to the point that all those who entered were encouraged to sit right up at the front.

Much like the five stages of grief, there seems to be five stages of that occur when anything from IKEA needs to be put together. This was demonstrated clearly at a single point within the show in which the necessary screws appeared to not exists.

  1. Denial and isolation: An insistence that the necessary screws were simply just not there, and they’d forgotten to include them.
  2. Anger: “Why do they put so many screws in one tiny table, can’t they all just be the same?!”
  3. Bargaining: Bullock floated the possibility of just using some of the other screws, as did it really matter?
  4. Depression: A moment where Bullock questioned why he had even decided to do this in the first place.
  5. Acceptance: He found them.

Kieran Bullock Builds IKEA Furniture on Stage and Talks to the Audience is definitely one of the more unique shows at this years’ Melbourne Fringe Festival. While it may not have audience members walking out in awe and amazement, there is absolutely a moral to the story – Kieran Bullock can’t put together IKEA furniture in 50 minutes. What he can do however, is provide 50 minutes of very entertaining banter and commentary.

Kieran Bullock Builds IKEA Furniture on Stage and Talks to the Audience is showing at Trades Hall as part of the 2019 Melbourne Fringe Festival. Tickets can be purchased here.

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