Edinburgh Festival 2011
The measure of success for any performer should be their ability to effect an audience, manipulate them and create an experience that is unique but also managed with intent and conviction. Andrew Bird works hard from the start to get his audience on his side an succeeds epically. There are few comedians I have seen who have the audience as putty so quickly and perhaps fewer who generate such warmth and genuine sincerity that flows both ways between performer and audience.
His 2011 show, Andrew Bird’s Village Fete, is a brilliant piece of work examining village life in general, it’s idiosyncrasies and oddities, but also his own personal relationship with his roots and indeed his future. His use and selection of material is exceptional, as someone who grew up in a village environment I instantly recognized the village newsletter ignoring all world events for the mundane and the innocuous. Developing the people that exist in rural communities into comical characters is a skill, but he goes beyond this, we don’t feel like we are laughing at them, it’s not condemning nor does he look down on the lifestyle.
I’m unsure how someone unfamiliar with the village lifestyle would contend with the show which is a reservation, but then not every show is for everyone. Nor did I feel it quite tipped into 5 star review land. But it left a warm feeling, a tender stomach from laughing and an urge to return to simpler, easier times, letting life wash by.