Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall @ The Tuxedo Cat – Alley Cat
6:00pm, Mon 5 Mar 2012
It turned out that it didn’t matter that The is a title that’s just about impossible to search for on the FringeTIX site; last-minute kerfuffles meant that I was buying a ticket at the TuxCat front-of-house. “Many pre-sales?” I’d asked, as I am inclined to do; “nope, just you,” I’d been told, “though there should be some artists coming along, too.”
So I’m a little sad – I know it’s tough work for comedians with small crowds. But when I wander down to the Alley Cat, I see a bunch of people hanging around outside. I proffer my ticket at the door – “oh, you’re the one! Come in, sit anywhere!” – and, after thirty seconds or so, the nod is given: the lingerers rush in and occupy the right-hand seats of the front two rows. Suddenly, it feels like a decent crowd.
When Alasdair takes to the stage – with no real build-up – and announces that the show may suffer due to his hungover tiredness, he’s visually buoyed by the laughter and verbal jostling from the freeloading ring-in artists. And some of them were clearly familiar with his work, occasionally shouting out suggestions for his next joke; but they were all good value, giving the show some impetus.
Alasdair’s style is friendly in nature, but there’s nothing really exceptional in his delivery – though he fails (quite spectacularly) in his attempt to not be self-deprecating. He opens with a long joke exploring the likelihood of us all being gathered in the same place at the same time… but then three (paying!) customers turn up late, causing the entire joke to be restarted from the beginning (causing much recognition-mirth from the non-late amongst us). There’s a really entertaining piece on his favourite parts of the Kama Sutra (like the bits that tell you when it’s okay to sleep with another man’s wife if you kill him first), and his self-induced laughter when referencing his Possum Portrait Painter was infectious… though I suspect that was partly due to tiredness (both his and mine).
On the basis of this performance, Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall showed himself to be a quality comedian with enough tricks up his sleeves (like the musical bumpers for each section of the show – he’d do the noise himself, then append a punctuating “the” at the end) to be genuinely enjoyable. He’s not super-absurd or anything, nor is he a particularly unique comic genius… just solidly entertaining.