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BRENDON BURNS: BLACK COMEDIAN


RONDO THEATRE

 

Brendon Burns isn’t black. You can tell that right away; but in case you hadn’t noticed he does bring it to your attention. He is Australian, though, and he sure brings that to your attention. This is a show, basically, that is looking at racism, and he’s certainly not the first comic to do that. He shouts a lot; and swears a great deal, the whole thing peppered with F and C words – you know the ones I mean. If this sounds as if it’s going to be some kind of rancid cab driver’s xenophobic rant, it turns out, thankfully, gloriously, not to be. Burns’ explosive style is not really aggressive at all; he doesn’t bully or pick on audience members, rather he uses it to jolt us into looking in all the dusty holes and corners of our attitudes (and his own) towards anyone of any other nationality, ethnicity or hair colour. But he does this without Stewart Lee preachiness, or Doug Stanhope bragadoccio. The whole is intensely humane, expertly timed, and most importantly very, very funny. His anecdotes about Australian cops, English attitudes, Russian audiences, aboriginal genocide,even, are all hilarious – but always sharply pointed to get under the skin, if that’s the right phrase, of our attitudes to each other in this world. Great exercise for the mind as well as the chuckle muscles. Brendon Burns is a worthy 21st century successor to Lenny Bruce, the man who started it all. Clever stuff.

**** – 4 Stars

 

                                                                                         John Christopher Wood