With lyrics like "I’m the Ute and you’re the diesel, I’m the bowl and you’re the Cheezels", you really can’t help but love Justin Heazlewood, aka The Bedroom Philosopher. There’s a fine line between comic genius and freaky folly and Heazlewood treads it finely at times, but for the most part, the show is about as witty and original as musical comedy gets.
Songs From the 86 Tram won the Director's Choice Award at this year’s Melbourne Comedy Festival and I can see why. There’s a fabulous blend of inspiring musical talent, adroit writing, and some of the best acting talent you’re likely to see at a show of this ilk. Heazlewood has masterful control over his voice and brings to startling life a vast array of characters that get under your skin rather more quickly than you would expect. From a Smith St junkie looking for his next fix, to a Footscray immigrant who wears his home on his sleeve, Heazlewood breathes a great deal of depth into all of them.
Songs from the 86 Tram is unlikely to appeal to everyone; there are some truly surreal moments to be had throughout. The song in Indonesian performed while simultaneously shaving and playing the harmonica comes immediately to mind. That said, I loved it. The writing is top-notch and pitch perfect for every character Heazelwood creates: from an old man reminiscing about how things used to be in his day (“when we couldn’t afford punctuation; I got an apostrophe for Christmas”), to the truly brilliant ‘Man on a Tram’, which is likely to have the best of Melbourne’s performance poets practically salivating (either that or green with envy).
I’d wager that most Melbournites would dig this show, especially if you hail from the inner North-east. The free-range retro shop (ala an old people’s home in Northcote) gag is hilarious.
This is a comedy show with heart. It’s well structured, brilliantly performed, and one of a kind.
Nan & Pop Records presents
Songs From The 86 Tram
The Bedroom Philosopher
Venue: Ballroom | Lithuanian Club
Dates: 3 - 10 October 2009
Times: 7:45-8:45 (6:45 Sundays) Excluding Mondays
Tickets: Conc $18.00, Full $22.00, Group $17.00, Tightarse Tues $17.00
Bookings: Festival Tix: 03 9660 9666 or www.melbournefringe.com.au