Tim Minchin’s Near-Perfect Show Is Louder Than You Think
Tim Minchin: Return ★★★★½
Enmore Theatre, January 18
Reviewed by Daniel Herborn
For a self-proclaimed “semi-retired comedian”, Tim Minchin has a hard time letting go of the funny.
There are as many stories as songs in this show – often wildly animated and digressive affairs. He stalks the scene in his “inappropriate for his age” skinny jeans, whipping himself into pleasantly wordy rants about cancel culture, confirmation bias among religious believers and social media tribalism.
The introductions to some older songs (such as the sardonic rhythmic poem Mitsubishi-Colt) even include glossaries of some of the now obsolete references. “Anyone born before 2000, you’re not welcome here,” he berates some younger fans, ironically. “Not just in Enmore; you are not welcome anywhere!
Minchin, now middle-aged, may claim to envy millennials with his “musculoskeletal integrity”, but his loose-limbed physique remains intact. He’s all over the stage like a red-haired dervish, playing with his seven-piece band, leaning against a camera on the floor and cozily reclining on his piano.
Such energy makes the case much louder than you might expect in a set dominated by its newer apart together album, a record full of late-night melancholy. He warns us that there are no punchlines in The absence of you, but it is a beautiful and poignant thing. For sheer beauty, it is topped only with a reminder of the elegant carry you, complete with group harmonies.
Minchin’s comedic songs often had a serious underside, and now his more serious work carries glimmers of wry humor. Leaving LA arouses laughter accompanied by sighs, and I’ll take lonely tonight finds hints of comic grace in its depiction of a nostalgic Minchin contemplating adultery.
Talked too much, stayed too long, meanwhile, sees Minchin contemplating his life’s work and his eventual demise, prompting him to share what he would like to be his final words: “Who will the world revolve around now?”