Adelaide Fringe 2021
Tim Ferguson takes us on a real-life review of all things motivational. From those books that promise to change our lives, to the thousands-of-dollar weekend retreats, all bases are covered – except the real question: do they actually work? Within this spoken-word Comedy, Tim Ferguson – Smashing Life (Motivation for Idiots) – the real motivation comes from an entirely different place.
Supported only by a backing screen of presentations and video clips, Tim Ferguson premiers his new show at The Virago tent in Gluttony, Rhymil Park. As the audience is entering, motivational quotes are played, along with the obligatory COVID 19 Seating messages we’ve become accustomed to. Keeping in line with the show, however, these messages are also played in a motivational ‘voice’. The audience then is treated to a series of clips – ‘testimonials’ – in fact, of Fergusons so-called motivational work. It seems he’s delivered workshops, weekend retreats and written books, consumed by audiences across the world and all on his topic of choice – how to Smash Life. His testimonials are filled with praise and as Ferguson is wheeled onto the stage, the audience believes they are about to hear all of Tim’s motivational wisdom, until he begins to belittle the audience (sorry bald people). It is then that we realise Ferguson isn’t there to inspire, but rather to strip back all of those ‘speakers’ who promise to change your life, give you their ‘secret’ or entice you with their tips and tricks…. At a price, of course!
Tim Ferguson moves from topic to topic fluently – poking fun at authors, their books and their motivational masterclass, all with the aid of a presentation screen to fill in the gaps. We learn how NOT to motivate; are introduced to Cliff the Kitten (??) and we‘re given Tim’s Tips on motivation 101. What might be the at the real crux of the show, however, is following some of the daily struggles Ferguson faces as someone who has so much to give, but who also deals daily with Multiple Sclerosis. The later, perhaps, the source of the REAL motivation to Ferguson’s followers.
The show concludes with how it began – and we hear more from the ‘graduates’ of Tim’s motivational explorations.
The Virago tent within Gluttony was – sadly – too large for Tim’s audience, though the show really deserves a larger crowd. Ferguson, however, was not dwarfed by the size of the room – or the stage – as his bold personality, infectious laugh and sharp wit more than filled the tent. Even the unpreventable venue noise bleed didn’t deter him, or the audience of engaged listeners.
The show, however, does rely on audience engagement. While the audience was somewhat lack lustre in their response on the night, which did affect the shows pace, it didn’t deter Ferguson, who sought his own answers, if they weren’t offered automatically.
Tim Ferguson – Smashing Life (Motivation for Idiots) delivered exactly what it promised and more. The 60-minute comedic poke at those who try to charge us for their ‘wisdom’, gave the ultimate motivation for living life to the full, and having a great big belly laugh while you’re at it.