September 14, 2018
Full disclosure: I had no idea who David Baddiel was prior to attending his Sydney incarnation with his unvarnished one-man stage show My Family: Not The Sitcom, which is thematically cantered around (the loss of) memory, ageing, infidelity, dysfunctional relatives, moral policing on social media, golf, and gay cats.
I will not go into further details as to the content as it would spoil the experience.
What on face value could be perceived as a an exercise in disrespect and exposing the inner workings of his family, is in essence a compelling appreciation of their characters with all their quirks, faults and his love for them.
As he delves into the deepest secrets of his family, the affection and subtle admiration for his sex-crazed mother and his frontal lobe dementia ridden father that pervades Baddiel’s two hour monologue, is subtle yet it is that very emotional connection that makes his monologue more than a mere laugh fest: What makes the show entertaining is the fact that truth can be stranger and more outrageous than any manufactured, scripted fiction.
Being an ardent advocate for truth, Baddiel’s tackles topics that are commonly deemed to be uncomfortable with humour while avoiding the pitfalls of throwing people under the bus for a cheap laugh. It is that well-calibrated approach that avoids cruelty and the nuanced melange of compassion and his warm stage presence which holds the audience rapt as they become acquainted with his life and willingly follow his stories and observations.
The highly personal show benefits greatly from the approachable and effortless way in which David Baddiel performs and the best parts ensure are when he abstains from framing and embraces the chaotic and outrageous escapades of his parents by merely recounting the details.
The show is refreshing in that in an age where breaking taboos, causing offense and swearing is en vogue in the comedy world just for the sake of it, beneath the humour of My Family: Not the Sitcom lies a rich layer of thought that celebrates life in the omnipresence of death.
If this sounds something you’d do with, I’d strongly recommend spending an evening with David Baddiel on his remaining tour dates down under in Brisbane and Perth.