The Bedroom Philosopher, otherwise known as Justin Heazlewood, has chosen this year for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival to use his show to perform a cat-spectacular. Dressed as a cat, acting like a cat and singing about cats – done correctly this concept had the potential be both bizarre and highly entertaining. However, the end result we receive, though with funny moments throughout, is instead a slightly confusing, at moments awkward and overall just general weird.
Heazlewood at first appears to have gone all out for his concept, his own self adorned in ears, whiskers and a tail, with the shiny collar on his neck completing the illusion – he spends the show imitating the antics of a cat at random intervals. These imitations are one of the main moments that draw laughs from the crowd – and it’s obvious the Heazlewood has practiced them numerous times, any cat owner will recognise the crazed and scared look he manages in his eyes when attempting to bite at an audience member.
Unfortunately these moments are the funniest highlights of the night – the remaining parts of the show consist of a sort of stand-up style, with Heazlewood not quite managing to capture his audience for the show. A number of jokes fall flat, with only a polite scattering of laughter being awarded. This is due in part to Heazlewood’s delivery, he tended to mumble through the punch lines, trailing off in the middle of sentences and leaving a haze of confusion in the room.
For a performer with such a rich history in song writing and singing, it was a little disappointing to have him stop in the middle of a song because he’d forgotten the lyrics. Others seemed unrelated to the context of the show at all, or even to the topic that he had been talking about previously. The entire thing almost felt like a chance for Heazlewood to practice his new songs on an audience without having to commit to anything.
Overall The Cat Show had potential, with a tighter and more precise point to the performance – with songs and jokes more regulated and based around the concept of cats (considering he had gone to all the effort to dress up as one, it seemed odd that only parts of the show had cats mentioned). If you are a fan of Heazlewood’s previous word as the Bedroom Philosopher this is probably a show that has been created precisely for you.
The Cat Show is showing at The Malthouse Theatre as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival from March 30th to April 9th. Tickets can be purchased here.