Saturday 1 April 2023

Dr. Brown Beturns review (Melbourne International Comedy Festival)

Dr. Brown Beturns is Dr. Brown's return to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in 11 years. Having seen his award winning show back then, there was much excitement and anticipation as I took my seat in the theatre to see what wackiness he has concocted after all this time. Performed entirely in silence - with the exception of a few grunts - Dr. Brown portrays an older man who despite living a simple life, has not lost his cheeky spark.

Audience participation is a staple in this show, and sitting in the back is not going to protect you. You can smell the fear emanating from audience members as Dr. Brown sniffs out who his volunteer will be. What was particular joyful about this night was the slight audience revolt, with those on stage (playfully) not taking any of his shit, making even Dr. Brown not know what was going to happen next and improvise where scenes went. It is always fascinating to watch the power dynamics between performer and audience volunteer unfold.

Dr. Brown gets away with a lot. It's surprising but also not surprising because with those expressive eyes and "butter wouldn't melt" smile, he can turn the charm on when needed and then be giving you the middle finger a second later and you will accept it. There's a lot of play that happens on stage, and it remains a source of constant laughter, and even as we reach the very final moments of the show, Dr. Brown ensures that it is a conclusion that will stick with us for some time.

Dr. Brown may scold us when we clap for what he perceives to be a mediocre act or when an audience member bravely hits the stage, but Dr. Brown Beturns deserves so so many claps. Fingers crossed it isn’t another 11 years before we are graced with the presence of this incredibly talented and riotous performer.


Malthouse Theatre, 113 Sturt St, Southbank
Season: until 23 April | Tue - Sat 9:15pm Sun 8:15pm
Length: 60 minutes

Tickets: $33-$35 Full | $28-$35 Conc | $25 Tightarse Tuesday

Bookings: Malthouse Theatre and Melbourne International Comedy Festival

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