Sydney Fringe Festival 2011
Venue: Seymour Centre Downstairs “The Reginald” TheatreSaturday, 10 September, 2011 Pirate Rhapsody, Mermaid Requiem invites its audience to take a dip into the irreverent, hilarious and insightful sea of Tommy Bradson’s mind. Bradson sings and speaks his way through the tales of a broken-hearted, tainted pirate and a similarly broken-hearted, tainted mermaid.
Through these two characters, Bradson tackles subjects from sex with a fat girl through to wanting to be fingered and blown (as a piano and trumpet, of course!). This is smut in the greatest sense of the word, and Bradson revels gloriously in it, with razor-sharp wit and a rich, versatile voice. The monologues throughout the show occasionally become rambling and a little indulgent, but there’s enough great comedy to keep the audience onside.
Bradson is somehow more appealing as his second character — the mermaid, than as his first — the pirate. Perhaps this is simply because by the time the mermaid came around, the audience had warmed to Bradson’s unique dramatic style.
His poetic musings on life’s pain and disappointment are interspersed with confronting audience interaction and sea shanty-inspired songs, composed by John Thorn. Thorn’s songs are brilliant, ranging from hilarious adult cabaret, through to scorching torch songs. They are played on piano and cello and are melodic and instantly memorable.
Bradson hits his stride when he interacts with the audience. In one hilarious moment as the mermaid, he had male audience members spraying him with water bottles, on his demand, to make sure he didn’t dry out.
Pirate Rhapsody, Mermaid Requiem is perhaps a little rough around the edges, but it succeeds due to a brilliantly charismatic performance, great songs and some genuinely touching moments.