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Trevor Browne - I Think ... I Am
Published on Tuesday, 14 August 2012
4

4 stars

Gilded Balloon Teviot (venue website)
Comedy
1-12, 14-26 Aug, 7:00pm-8:00pm
Reviewed by Alasdair Lane

 Recommended for age 14+ only.

Performing in front of a six-strong audience couldn't be an easy task, I thought - especially when half of them are press. Well, I was wrong. Trevor Browne - I Think ... I Am is a music-fuelled, one-liner-loaded stand-up show which delivered often hysteric laughs regardless of the... erm, modest crowd size. Though the on-stage persona might lack some originality or variation, and much of the humour may have been circumstantial, this show will have you laughing one way or another, guaranteed.

fAn opening video gives the backstory to the act: as the most celebrated folk-rock singer in history, Trevor's music has profoundly affected some of the greats - Barack Obama, for instance, humbly explains that it was his seminal Space Cowboy album which made him want to be President. This witty and original beginning cemented the absurd, often puerile, but thoroughly amusing tone of things to come. These things take the form of Browne's narrative about his hiatus from stardom to explore the meaning of life (of course), told through an energetic mix of song and speech.

Playing a narcissistic, self-indulgent and completely arrogant washed-up musician, still convinced of his own brilliance, Browne nails the persona with his conceited pouts, saucy winks and self-satisfied pauses. There is something very David Brent about the whole affair. This is, of course, high praise, of which he definitely deserves - he could have overplayed the role and killed the comedy, by coming across as obnoxious in, well, an obnoxious way... but he didn't.

He also exhibited some real musical talent, serenading his audience with both guitar and harmonica as part of some Flight of the Conchords-esque acoustic comedy. The pattern of stand-up then song worked well, but began to drag by the halfway mark. It was just as well, then, that a change of pace came in the form of a poetry recital... all about rain. This proved an inspired move by Browne as once again the six laughed like sixty, with the conceit of character reducing a few to tears.

Aside from a couple of lead-balloon one-liners, the performance only fell down on its lack of diversity and originality. Hilarious though it may be, the failing musician oblivious to his shortcomings is nothing new. Browne also rode this wave a little too long, and by curtains you could definitely feel that the audience had cooled to the onslaught of vanity. Furthermore, the sea of empty seats at my particular performance lent themselves just a bit too well to the whole tone of the show, and looking back it may have been that double irony which really drove us to such elation.

Regardless of these gripes, Trevor Browne - I Think ... I Am is a good time, and some! If that cringeworthy sense of self-worth against all the evidence is your kind of comedy, then you're in for a real treat. And even if not, Browne is a top-class comedian who can masterfully deliver a slap-stick punch line you'll struggle to keep a straight face at. My pick of the stand-up so far - so don’t worry if you see plenty of empty seats when you head through the doors!

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FROM OUR ARCHIVES

These are archived reviews of shows from Edinburgh 2012.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

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