Asher Treleaven, a master of the theatrical, is plenty amusing in Troubadour
, a clever show that fuses 1980s corporate psychology with memoir-style recollections.
Troubadour is structured around the psychological tool described by Edward de Bono in his 1985 book Six Thinking Hats, which Treleaven uses to explore different aspects and stories of his life to date. These interludes vary from the expected reminiscences of adolescence to a rather snazzy number in which he recaps his early life in the form of a Beat poem. Treleaven even calls his circus training into play, performing a wonderful routine that can deservedly be called a ‘showstopper’.
In exploring his life (nominally under the premise of asking the audience whether it’s interesting enough to talk about for an hour), Treleaven opens himself up to the audience. He traces his existence from childhood to the present day, telling tales of teenage angst, circus school and anatomical anomalies along the way. Towards the end, it verges on over-sharing (you’ll certainly learn more about Treleaven than you bargained on), but the final message he imparts is so heartening, it ties the piece together nicely.
Treleaven is certainly funny, although his gangly, effusive physical presence, complete with much gesticulation, can feel a little wearying, especially when his runaway hands distract from his clever wordplay. His show feels most successful when he embraces his love of performance art completely – the Beat poem and circus routines are marvellous, whereas when he does ‘straighter’ stand-up, it feels like he’s just itching to burst into a dance routine.
Troubadour is valiant in its determination to offer a new dimension to the Comedy Festival offerings, and for the most part, it is a success. Rather than a source of constant chuckles, it’s a character exploration by a talented young man who shares some intimate parts of himself in a slightly oddball fashion.
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Asher Treleaven – Troubadour
Melbourne Town Hall, Cloak Room
March 29 - 22 April
Melbourne International Comedy Festival
March 28 – April 22