Garrett Millerick: Sunflower

10/08/08

The Tron, Edinburgh

Garrett Millerick is a bit of a favourite with Bouquets & Brickbats. Last year, with The Dreams that Stuff is Made Of, he seemed to be in a very dark place indeed, delivering a set that pulsed with anger and derision. It’s a happier, healthier looking man who steps onto the tiny stage of the Tron, to deliver his latest creation, Sunflower, a title that also seems to suggest we’re in for a brighter experience, this time around. Sure enough, within moments of his very first utterance, the audience is howling with laughter.

Which is ironic when you consider that later on, the show incorporates a moment of such intense personal pain that, for a few moments, we’re literally shocked into stunned silence. The way Millerick expertly reels us back towards the laughs is a testament to his skills as a raconteur. Few comedians can manage to walk such a slippery tightrope quite so effortlessly.

As Millerick is quick to point out, the titles of Fringe shows are decided on long before August – and indeed, it had been his intention to bring something happier this time around. But life has a way of intervening in people’s best-laid plans and Millerick has done a great job of snatching triumph from the jaws of adversity. What he presents instead is a kind of meta-comedy, laying bare the show’s construction, and inviting us to consider the nature of humour.

This show mixes elements of humour and despair with great aplomb. It also features a certain Chesney Hawkes song to great effect. You want to know how? You’ll find the answer at the Tron.

4.5 stars

Philip Caveney

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