One of the greatest strengths of this show is Brooks’ unrelenting truth. He is a gifted storyteller who successfully navigates loneliness, confusion, self-doubt, unrequited love and in the end the triumph of personal strength and endurance. The stutter is a barrier that is easily broken down as audiences pretty quickly hang on to his every word.
With that said, for a show billed as Sam Brooks’ performance debut, I was left wanting more of Sam Brooks. There is a great rawness, authenticity and emotional weight in seeing Brooks struggle his way into telling his own story and the addition of Potts kind of loses some of the story’s potency. However, what they lose in resonance, they gain in fun. Potts is game to play along with Brooks’ sometimes outlandish offers and it is truly enjoyable to see him keep up.
The show truly shines when Brooks takes the stage for his lip-syncs. Each one is deeply felt, fully realised and evokes the shows most powerful emotions. There are moments of true poignancy, wistfulness and beauty to be wrung in Brooks’ unvarnished, commanding performance. And juxtaposed with his struggle to get his words out earlier, it is a powerful picture. As a performer, he is unapologetically flamboyant, wearing his camp influences on his sleeve as shown by his glorious song selections and dance moves. He offers a refreshing voice to the table especially when mainstream media’s bid to normalise homosexuality vows to erase the more ostentatious side of the gay man’s spectrum.
All in all, this is an artfully crafted show which successfully showcases the man behind the playwright. Anyone who’s loved, lost and/or found themselves again will leave with a satisfying night out. And there’s ample humour, heart and fabulous lip-syncs to make it a true winner.
Of the two Auckland-based B4 25 perennials/theatre wunderkinds to make a splash in the Wellington scene this year, it is Brooks who lives up to his promise, stutter and all. Elaine Stritch, Nicki Minaj and Porky Pig would all be proud.
Brooks wonderfully uses “Boy Problems”, a cut from Carly Rae Jepsen’s revelatory new-wave inspired new record, E*MO*TION. Whoever spreads the Gospel of St. Carly automatically gets extra points for being awesome. The album is a masterpiece of distilled wistfulness and nostalgia. A+
Timer and Sound Designer Adam Ogle is a great foil for Brooks. Some of the shows best moments are from their cheeky interactions.
Bronte Fitzgibbon and Jake Brown provide stellar support as Brooks’ back –up dancers. Brown, in particular, needs to have his own dance-based show. He nearly stole the show.
Why does Hillary Swank have two Oscars? Both of her winning roles are pure Oscar-bait 101 (Transgendered man and Female boxer to put it simplistically). Poor, Oscar-less Annette Bening, losing to the same, less-talented actress twice.