Tuesday, March 8, 2011




Carry On Tent


7pm nightly til Mar 12

It could have so easily been a disaster. In front of his biggest crowd of his run so far, Tom Binns walked on stage and into potential disaster. There is a loud buzzing noise “Is that the PA?” asks fantastically realized hapless character Ivan Brackenbury, no it’s crickets. It’s a funny moment. However it becomes apparent immediately after this that his vital laptop is not making any noise. There then follows ten minutes of faffing about with flat batteries and lost screws, with audience members on their hands and knees helping in the search. Binns stays in character saying things like “I know some of you might think this is part of the show….but it’s not.” And most amusingly “I’m going to run over and the after me will kill me. Somehow. The guy after me is played by the same guy who plays me.”. A reference to his other Fringe show Ian D Montfort : Spirit Medium which plays directly after Brackenbury.

Australia doesn’t have hospital DJ’s, but in the UK it has been an institution for decades. In-house radio stations designed to raise the spirits of the patients. Often hospital radio DJs used to be on ‘proper’ radio or be club DJs but are a bit past their used by date. Ivan Brackenbury hosts Disease Hour, and is pretty consistent and playing the most inappropriate song for any occasion.

“This goes out to Tom, he’s got enormous sticky out ears. He’s having them pinned back. He’s a huge fan of Simple Red” (cue: Holding Back the Years – sing it to yourself – see where we are going with this?). And it’s an hour of those sort of super funny gags, quick fire, hilarious and often didn’t see it coming punch lines. His station IDs are priceless “Ivan Brackenbury – reaching out and touching patients.” His celebrity endorsements have to be heard to be believed. At one point after a ID from Mr T (yep the real one) Ivan shrugs and says “He had no idea what this was. I’m not even real. In real life I’m not even bothered about that cricket.”. It’s a great character, with his tracksuit pants and baseball cap, gormless enthusiasm and a great line in misread dedications. Mostly I can’t tell you the kind of jokes you’ll hear, for fear of spoiling a show you really should get to. Song you may never hear the same way include Torn Between Two Lovers, Solid as a Rock and Mambo Number 5 (a joke so good I am laughing again while typing this. Laughs per minute one of the best all Fringe. It’s on early (7pm) so you could go after work and still make it home early. You should go. He’ll make you feel like ….”a winnnnnerr!”.

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