© John Devine
Peter Brush walks onto the stage at MAC in Birmingham to perform a preview of his new show Dreams With Advert Breaks with an air of apology about him. Confident in himself but self-critical, constantly editing, analysing and evaluating. This show is just his second solo hour, but Peter progresses through his material efficiently and chronologically, with a quiet confidence in the content of his show, if not quite the timings at this stage.
Aware of the impression an audience may have of him based on his appearance, as a young-looking, moderately long-haired, spectacle-wearing man, Brush openly shuns the label of ‘nerd’ or ‘geek’, stating that he actually has little interest in things that one might associate with such a trope. The comic explains the premise of his new show, which one could describe as a nostalgic look at childhood, including his past dreams (those that occur whilst asleep and those upon waking).
Brush’s guilty pleasure, it seems, is incorporating the kind of jokes into his sets that induce groans or tuts from an audience. What is refreshing is that he doesn’t care, because he enjoys these quips, and often so do we, or rather we enjoy the satisfaction of a small, rounded-off joke, as a change from longer-form narratives. Peter is aware that silly throwaway remarks are not sufficient to build an entire show and he knows that this is, in turn, not what an audience wants to hear, and in this way the comic shows a proficiency for reading his audience.
The narrative of the hour itself shows promise of being satisfyingly complex, with pleasing callbacks towards the end of the hour that bridge the gaps, from early childhood memories to the present day, although there were gaps within this performance as Peter expressed a wish to perform the latter part of the show, and therefore missed out sections from the middle. A shame for us, perhaps, but surely audiences in Edinburgh will have the loose ends sufficiently tied up.
The most impressive aspect of Brush’s writing is arguably a remarkable ability to conjure up surreal imagery within everyday mundanity. These whimsical reconstructions of childhood memories and dreams earn him many satisfied nods of heads, as opposed to laughs, and epitomise his comedic style; quiet, subtle, understated.
Peter Brush will be performing his show Dreams With Advert Breaks at the Edinburgh Festival.
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