Jono Wants a Wife
Jono Burns @ Tuxedo Cat – The Coffee Pot
9:45pm, Fri 20 Feb 2015
Jono Burns is a pretty good looking bloke, especially for someone – in his mid-thirties – approaching middle age. This is evident within seconds of this show’s opening, as he enters the room and strips down to his jocks. And that’s how he stays for the bulk of the performance: nearly naked.
Which is a pretty good description of his emotional display, too, as he opens himself up for scrutiny. He’s not super-happy about being single, and he’s made a lot of mistakes in his life so far… and he’s not afraid to tell us about them.
Burns uses one particular failed relationship – that with Emily – as the backbone for this personal exploration, but delves back into the past as well; there’s fragments about his childhood, adolescence (his early masturbation encounters were hilarious), and of his days living in shitty accommodation near Bondi. But he always returns to Emily, and it’s where some of his best work – both in the text of the narrative, and the direction of Burns himself – takes flight: the nature of their relationship sounds almost ethereal, and the warmth in his voice as he describes wrapping themselves in red curtains is just beautiful… and a nice contrast to the story of meeting Emily’s parents (again).
That’s not to say that Jono Wants a Wife drowns in emotional whimsy; far from it. There are a few brushes with death and darker emotions, and for one so fresh-faced, Jono can really wallow in the filth: a lot of sex-related antics are detailed colourfully, and there are way more cunnilingus references than one would expect. It all works in context, though… once you get used to the contrasts.
Jono Wants a Wife was really entertaining straight-up storytelling. Jono’s an absolutely likeable bloke: he gets you on his team early, and has you barracking for him all the way to the end. And, for material that is so personal, that’s a pretty good feat.
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) February 20, 2015