Harley Breen: Personal Space
Forget the high concept, this is an hour of affable stand-up interspersed with appealingly inept marionette work, as a tiny puppet version of the 6ft 4in Breen unconvincingly recreates those moments of confinement.
It’s a valiant attempt to make the hour seem more than the sum of its parts, as is the inclusion of an over-arching message, of sorts, about how life robs us of the ability to see wonder and joy in small things that we once had as children. But ‘we all have an inner naughty unicorn’ isn’t that convincing a theme, more an afterthought apparently tacked on following a disappointing visit to Sea Horse World while on the road in Tasmania.
Other routines cover his small-town upbringing, tales of drink and camping out in a storm, and recounting an ad hoc convention of ‘gingers’ that just about manages to skirt the easy jokes on the topic that have been so unfortunately prevalent this festival.
None of this will rock your world, but Breen’s damn good company with an irresistible stage presence. If you’re making a list of ‘comedians you wouldn’t mind having a pint with’, on this evidence he’d easily make the cut. He also, incidentally, makes for a convincing six-year-old girl as he relives that naïve innocence of youth.