2006-03-18 : Ladies and Gentlemen, please welcome Mr Tim Minchin

This is wayyy catchup now (although the snowboarding trip's still to come !) but last Friday HC invited me along to see some singing comedian bloke she'd heard on the radio, and it was with mixed enthusiasm & skepticism that I trundled along to Soho to meet the others in a bar. I'm fairly easily pushed into a doubting frame of mind if I suspect there's any wank factor about something, and my buttons were being a little pushed by this venue… for one thing, there was a bit of a buzz on in the crowd because Keira Knightley (the wide eyed, big lipped chick from Pirates of the Caribbean) was there sinking a few bevvies, and celeb-spotting is the modern equivalent of trainspotting around here.

So anyway, we cram into the auditorium, and what happened next was the biggest comedic find I've had in ages. So without further ado, TOP MARKS Hannah for your taste, sophistication, and brilliance.

Tim Minchin is the best new comic talent I've seen in ages. He sings. He plays the piano like a concert pianist. His lyrics are on par with Sondheim (no really, they are), although more reminiscent of Baterz.

The show – “Darkside” – opened with a lipsynced electronica piece which kind of drew us in to wondering who this mysterious looking guy was, what his act was going to be, and just what was it we'd come to see anyway. Then, like a 10 year old doing a recital (albeit one who resembled a Beetlejuice/Sideshow Bob hybrid), he opened up with a big chord and a friendly “Hello, welcome to my show, I'm glad that you could come. We're gonna have a hoot, we're gonna have some fun.” – so far soo good. “Sit back, put your feet up and relax. Hope you've had a drink or three. The more you've drunk, the better I will be”. Genius.

He tackled a range of topics & issues, such as extolling the virtues of an inflatable girlfriend, espousing his views on religious extremism, a recycling campaign song, a peace anthem for Palestine… there was a touching piece about a guy who wanted desperately to be a rock star, but had never experienced any emotional trauma, and had a really comfortable upper middle class upbringing and therefore had no real scarred past to draw upon to write evocative songs (compounded by the fact he'd learnt the piano at school instead of guitar). There was a bunch of other cool stuff too, such as only the second beat poem I've ever heard which didn't make me want to punch the performer right in the head just on principle, and a cool little song to finish which probably wasn't meant to be poignant, but really captured my imagination nonetheless (it's called “Not Perfect”, just in case you buy the CD).

It's hard to really wax enthusiastic about this guy over a website, but I seriously recommend that anyone who reads this and likes musical comedy (but more Tripod in tone than Doug Anthony All Stars… perhaps an edgy & uber-talented Tom Lehrer but nowhere near as smug or American ?) go to take any opportunity you can to see him. If he can keep up coming up with new material to this standard then this boy's going places.

And he seems like a nice bloke – HC and I caught up with him in the bar afterwards.

See Tim Minchin.