Marquee – Laughing Horse @ Bar 50
Aug 1 – 25, 20.00
Byron Bertram took command of the Laughing Horse @ Bar 50 marquee the minute he stepped out in front of us. In fact he bellowed at us, not in an angry British way, more in a Canadian large personality way. As we sat in the half-filled tent he cajoled us into participation in his laughter, but also in the general uproar, which would be a good word for describing his set. He took us on a journey into the extremes of his over-active mind and imagination, confessing to having a mental deficiency and being on meds, with a burgeoning pride and reality.
Bertram knew his material was comedy adamantine, taking great relish in the fact as he stood full square before us with a great smile in his eyes – he almost didn’t have to say anything and we were splitting our sides with laughter. It got better by the second, ranging from mocking modern culture to quips about his beloved mum, a great character. He joked about alcohol, made comparisons between the police in Canada and Britain, pointing out the politeness of the police here, having no need for guns but instead deploying social skills to enforce order on nights out in towns and cities. When he would scream into the microphone, he wasn’t being a diva; instead it was all part of his charm.
To his credit he was no jovial Santa personality, it was his seriousness about comedy that began to set him apart as a stand up. He even received positive heckling. His idea for the title Passport and Prozac was influenced by his extensive travelling and Prozac being the medication he was on. He was unsympathetic towards today’s PC society, but it was enough to mention it rather than rip it apart, though he would have been more than capable if he’d wanted. But, with a preference for very clever wit and a delivery to die for, Byron’s lack of airs and graces made him a pleasure to watch, listen to and feel improved by, all the while crying tears of laughter. It’s definitely shows like this that make the Festival for me, shows which step out of time and give weight to the theory of time flying when you’re having fun. This was an enthralling and masterful performance from a great traveller from Canada. Well worth an hour of your time.