Josh Belperio stars in an autobiographical cabaret armed with a microphone, grand-piano, teddy bear, plastic machete, and see-through hospital underwear. He recounts a sensational true story through original songs and amusing lyrics. Artistic Director of Under The Microscope, Matthew Briggs, has a wonderful piece of theatre to present to Fringe audiences.
A wash of blue light, drop-down pendants, and high ceilings of the warehouse were a great backdrop for Belperio’s genuinely funny one-man show.
The Lab featured a small stage with a grand piano where Belperio shared a survival story about falling off of his bike and rupturing his spleen.
His surgeon was present for this particular performance and was graciously acknowledged during the show.
Belperio bared more than just his physical scar to his patrons as he let them into his world. The fragile yet happy-go-lucky performer made light of a terrifying situation.
He shared his valuable lessons on appreciating life and slowing down, and his message resonated with me.
Underscoring himself on piano, the dramatic moments in his biography were highlighted with original music, and poignant messages about life and social issues. Memorable songs were “ICU / I See You”, “I Want To Be Fine”, and a song about his mother reading pamphlets in the waiting room; each received admiration from the audience.
Featuring the kind of comedic songwriting which I would liken to Sammy J and Tim Minchin, many of his rhymes were delivered with a cheeky grin, and some lyrics were borderline hammy.
He sang with conviction and the original lyrics of his songs were eccentric at times, playing on his sexuality and Aussie vernacular; this device worked well in his cabaret.
Though I would not consider Belperio to have a polished voice, this heartfelt story would be lesser had it not been told by him. A stronger comedian than he is singer, this young cabaret artist has all the makings of an excellent showman, should he refine certain elements of his craft.
Belperio is a multi-disciplinary artist and is to be commended on holding his audience’s attention throughout this enthralling performance. His candid storytelling and comedy were his strengths.
The punchlines had me laughing and his sentiments made me cry as he covered sensitive issues such as anxiety, love, self-acceptance, and survival in a sincere and original show. The beauty of scars and the value of love were apparent in Belperio’s work as he openly expressed his traumatic ordeal through his art.
Reviewed performance: 24 February 2018
Season: 23 February – 4 March at 7.00 pm
3 March at 3.00 pm
Venue: Queens Theatre at The Lab
Categories: Expressivo (Performance Reviews)