Sunday, 23 October 2016
My Girlfriend's Boyfriend | Mike Birbiglia
Written by Augusta Supple   
Saturday, 15 January 2011 11:18

My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend | Mike BirbigliaBorn in 1978, Mike Birbiglia is a comedian, writer (best-selling novelist and currently screenwriter amongst other literary pursuits), actor and sleepwalker. Not the most flattering photo advertises My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend – it’s like he’s been surprised by a camera, holding three melting ice-creams – naive and oblivious to how this looks. And it looks bad. It looks sad. But in fact it is hilarious.

In fact, Mike Birbiglia looks like any other guy. The kind of guy who you probably don’t notice standing in the queue in front of you at the movies, or the bar, or when buying ice-cream. Average height. Collared shirt ‘n’ t-shirt, jeans and sneakers… it’s the uniform of a stand up comic - or the average thirty-something-year-old man enjoying some down time on the weekend. But, Birbiglia’s has a story, and a way of telling this story, which you will have absolutely no choice but to be drawn into and entangled in his confident self-deprecating humour and his hilarious turn of phrase.

He seems genuinely surprised to see a wall of audience looking at him when we walks onto stage on opening night. Kept safe in the circumference of a follow spot, he makes his way across the stage, like a shy student about to present a book report.

The usual “please turn off your mobile phone” request is not a disembodied voice of God – but an appeal is given by Birbiglia that sets the tone for the show… an anecdote about phones complete with anthropomorphic phone impersonation in dialogue with Birbiglia is impossibly sweet, smart and awkward as he is. The anecdote finishes, and he sums up in a sentence “So that’s why you should turn off your phone.”

Birbiglia’s show is based on a combination of personal confessions his relationship with women, kissing, relationships and his own unwavering need to be right/win an argument. He tells the story of how, on two occasions, he has had relationships with women, that have been seeing boyfriends other than him. Excruciatingly self aware and brutally honest Birbiglia’s charm lies in his uncompromising intellect and his ability to make you like him, even if he’s being a bit of a jerk. It feels like he’s telling you a love story – where he is the fool and the fallen – and perhaps that’s because he is.

Unlike some comics, Birbiglia’s style is not bombastic, overt, aggressive, loud or cocky. He’s telling us a love story – and every now and then he stops, drops his voice and utters a sentence which resounds throughout the room, like a penny dropping. He admits his failures – even when he’s put in a lot of effort, some could say too much effort in defending or asserting an unwaivering principle. The sublime in Birbiglia comes from his ordinariness – his normalness, and for this normal person to encounter and handle the pain of everyday injustices, disappointments, embarrassments.

Awkwardly hilarious, brutally honest and beautifully tender, Birbiglia’s My Girlfriends Boyfriend is a brilliant piece of storytelling about love and learning to compromise.

Sydney Festival 2011
My Girlfriend's Boyfriend
Mike Birbiglia

Venue: Everest Theatre | Seymour Centre, Chippendale
Dates: January 13-16 at 8.30pm
Duration: 60mins
Tickets: $30
Bookings: Seymour Centre 02 9351 7940 | Sydney Festival 1300 668 812

Pin It

Comments (0)

Subscribe to this comment's feed

Write comment

You must be logged in to post a comment. Please register if you do not have an account yet.

PozibleAustralian Stage JobsMembers Area

Most Read

Most Read Reviews

Marat/Sade | New Theatre
Chaotic, rambunctious, percussive and provocative, MARAT/SADE is a theatrical bull untethered and let loose among political...
Antigone | Sport For Jove
There is not a false note in this entire enterprise, from script to scenery, and from every other talented actor in between...
The Color Purple | StageArt
StageArt and The Color Purple have shown that there is a world of exceptional musical theatre treats to be savoured beyond...
Hot Chocolate
Hot Chocolate are a more polished ensemble than the first act and also in some cases degrees cooler and lower key. Their bo...
Two Dogs | National Theatre of China
Two Dogs is one of the most popular works in China and has been performed over a 1,000 times. I wanted in.

Most Read News

Applications Open for MTC's Women in Theatre Program
Melbourne Theatre Company is pleased to announce that applications are now open for its 2017 Women in Theatre Program.