Chris Radburn – Breaking Rad
Chris Radburn @ Gluttony – The Piglet
10:10pm, Sat 15 Feb 2014
So – I’ve taken my seat in The Piglet, and it’s becoming apparent that Chris Radburn is going to get a decent-sized crowd in… the place is going to be at least half-full. Across the aisle from me, I recognise a recently familiar face: “Excuse me,” I introduce myself, “weren’t you at [my previous show]?”
He looked at me guardedly. “Yes…?”
“If you don’t mind me asking, who do you write for?”
His look turns to bewilderment, and he tells me. “But… how did you know?”
I chuckled knowingly, and started asking him about his media outlet’s review load over Fringe. “I do more reviews than most,” he says with a sense of pride, “I’ll see anywhere from thirty to forty shows.”
I smile to myself, and am happy that the house lights choose that moment to drop.
Chris Radburn leaps onto the stage, and it is clear that he owns it; despite lackadaisical body language, he exudes confidence, and he quickly wins most of the crowd over with material that I would call “middle-age staple”: Kids! Aren’t they nutty? Parents! Aren’t they competitive? There’s also a bit about his short-lived legal career, and a few attempts to show a bit of edginess – Radburn drops a c-bomb with considered precision, one eyebrow raised, and throws in some fingering material that caused some nervous laughs from the older members of the audience.
It’s all well-practised, it’s all casual-yet-confidently delivered with the polish of a comedian who has served his time; but it’s also accompanied by an undercurrent that’s distinctly anti-women… and I, for one, can do without that in my comedy now. That’s not to say that I was representative of Radburn’s audience – one chap, in particular, was laughing almost to the point of tears… especially during some of the “women are bitches” moments.
Having said that, I didn’t hear the reviewer mentioned above laugh once.
As time wears on, I’m becoming increasingly negative towards this show. Whilst there’s undoubtedly some solid material, a nice structure, and well-managed callbacks, the downsides are becoming too much to bear. I’m sure Chris Radburn would be a brilliant comic for men who don’t get out to much comedy, but for the more seasoned comedy-goers – and less misogynistic – amongst us, there’s a certain guiltiness that accompanies the laughs.
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) February 15, 2014