Dan Lees: Brainchild
Dan Lees @ Tuxedo Cat – The Coffee Pot
8:30pm, Mon 9 Mar 2015
It all starts so… normally: Dan Lees takes to the tiny Coffee Pot stage, looking charmingly eccentric and sounding soothingly British. He starts juggling character-filled hats and wigs (a la plate spinning). Something about the surety of his actions makes me immediately think that he’s not just a comedian, but also a(nother) Gaulier-trained clown.
A sudden costume change, and Lees is The Pope. Or rather, a Pope. A Pope that loves cheese. A cheese-loving Pope that loves booze more than cheese.
I’m mystified… but I’m also laughing my arse off.
I’m still laughing when I’m dragged up onstage, while Lees takes my seat. As an loud, blustering, and utterly unintelligible army stereotype, he coaches me through my role. I’m still laughing. Everyone else in the room is laughing, too.
Another costume change sees Lees as a cowboy. He’s lonely; his only friend is a fish. His fish, Alfie, is an aspiring comic, too. Lees’ cowboy sets him on a speaker, adjusts the mike stand, and leaves him to it. Alfie gets some courtesy laughs, but thenceforth bombs.
Dan Lees, though, most certainly does not bomb. In retrospect, I’m utterly ashamed that I didn’t schedule Dan Lees earlier in the Fringe… because I would have been singing (nay, screaming) his name from the rooftops in order to encourage people to go see him. His absurdist comedy is gentle enough to be universally approachable, but odd enough to be uproariously funny; Lees’ characters are completely barmy (without being abstract to the point of nonsense), his audience manipulation a joy to behold (and be part of), and he’s a totally lovely guy… Brainchild was one of the discoveries of the Fringe for me.
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) March 9, 2015