Hollywood Fringe 2016
Brendan Hunt returns with new one-man show.
Brendan Hunt has had a good history at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. He wrote and starred in “Absolutely Filthy” which won Top of the Fringe award in ’13, and last year he starred in “The Poe Show”, which picked up the Best Comedy Award. His previous one-man show “Five Years in Amsterdam” has been performed in various festivals including Edinburgh.
“Still Got It” is seems more theatrical the his previous solo show, maybe because the audience is always representing the person, or people, he is talking to.
The piece is in seven scenes, played out of sequence. So we start with Tim, a seemingly not very successful actor and improv coach, interrogating himself in a police station, he has a black-eye. Flashing back from that, we see the chain of events that got him to this point. Tim is desperate for an audience, any audience, he needs us to understand his version of events, not just of this alleged crime but of his life up to this point.
The clever device of using an unbidden wedding speech to give us more back story from twenty years prior gives a more rounded view of this character. He’s maybe trying to work out where he took a wrong turn, the piece is full of unspoken regret and consternation that he should end up where he has.
Hunt is great at being the misunderstood outsider, not quite grasping how he has missed the boat when others seem to get on it with little effort. There are flashes of misplaced anger but mostly there is the poetry of pain. The line between comedy and tragedy is carefully and skilfully walked.
Through the telling of his story we learn of lost love, and missed chances, and friends who have fallen by the way-side, or perhaps it is he who has done that.
Nicely directed by Lauren Van Kurin, the show seems like something more than a sixty-minute monologue. We believe ourselves to be the wedding guests hearing a rambling and inappropriate speech from one of the groom’s old comedy buddies. We believe we are young improv students, listening to a circuit veteran share his unconventional wisdom.
Hunt is always a compelling performer, but in this show he has created for himself the perfect vehicle for his particular comic persona. If it has anything like the longevity of his last solo show he could be doing it for the next few years. Catch it now, if you can. I highly recommend it.