Tim Minchin is currently heading towards the end of an entirely sold out UK tour, his first since 2011, and he certainly receives a warm welcome from his British fans. Having written the music for the stage shows Matilda the Musical in 2010 and Groundhog Day in 2016, and spent four years working as a director on an animated film in Hollywood that got suddenly scrapped, he has returned to the medium that made his name.
Minchin begins with a new song, If This Plane Goes Down. This new addition to the comic’s musical repertoire serves as a perfect introduction to the show, combining dark, fatalistic humour with beautiful chord successions and heart-felt reflections on life achievements and the importance of family.
Minchin’s musical aptitude is something to be marvelled. Often improvised, he works the piano with his whole body, making the body of the instrument as much a part of the show as his own. He stands high on its stool, dances on its lid, he often hits its keys with his bare feet. The piano becomes an extension of the comic himself, giving every song, every note, an undeniable fluidity. Tim’s performance, as always, is highly physical, and his ability to work the large stage, and the room, comes across as effortless.
The reveal of a seven-piece band is truly a memorable moment, elevating the performance of Rock n Roll Nerd to full-blown musical extravaganza. Minchin’s musicians are enigmatic and enthusiastic, and it is thrilling to see the formation enjoying performing together. What is particularly joyous is the new twist this newly-formed collective gives to Tim’s older classics, from If I Didn’t Have You to the popular favourite, Prejudice.
It would be easy for this kind of comedy to come across a tad pretentious, but Minchin always balances this tricky line. He candidly and matter-of-factly confides in his audience about his mental health and the responsibility he feels as an artist who has kids to feed. He’s also, as ever, not afraid to look the idiot. This is most evident, perhaps, in his latest rendition Cheese.
With a self-confessed fixation on double entendre, paired with a knack for bullet-proof argumentation, Minchin is a master of articulating his anger and frustrations in a heartfelt, often gleeful way. Tim Minchin is, most definitely, BACK.