Mr Breen shines in polished show
Harley Breen

COMEDY

Harley Breen

4 stars

De Parel Spiegeltent

REVIEW: Stephen Bevis

I need to get out more.

Harley Breen has a reputation as one of Australia's best stand-ups but I confess he'd slipped through my net of knowledge until I stepped into his Fringe World show at the weekend.

Breen was not in the fringe program when that titillating tome hit the streets last month but his schedule opened up and he has come over to fill a prime-time slot in the De Parel.

The eight-time Melbourne International Comedy Festival veteran has visited WA before as a part of that event's touring road show. And he's popped up on the telly in programs like Adam Hill's Tonight and Peter Helliar's It's a Date.

Some Kind of Something, the title of his first show at Fringe World, might better be called Some Kind of Thirty-Something, such are the subjects he touches on in a widely discursive but finely tuned journey through the ambivalent perils of that decade's adventures in fatherhood, marriage, jobs, self-image and thwarted irresponsibility

A big, bearded, imposing figure on stage, Breen is an engaging and likeable performer. Confident without being boorish, incisive without being cruel, rude without being gratuitous, his comedy is grounded in the everyday and elevated by his charm and perceptiveness.

The material itself may not be that original but the results are hilarious, whether recounting his shag-on-rock pedestrian woes in New Delhi traffic, the light-bulb moment that led to the invention of the backyard pizza oven, the drunken homecoming of his wife after a liquid lunch or the sniper-fire poos from his infant son on the change table.

And like more than a few other comics these days, Breen has settled on the hipster as the non-endangered species ripe for a roasting. His account of entwining his own beard with that of a hipster in a Melbourne street was comedy gold.

Breen seems to have the magic touch to tick just about all the navigational boxes in the Fringe World program; his show would work on a Nanna Night as much as a Mates Night and a Date Night, such is the wide appeal of his humour. Perhaps leave the kids at home, though.

Harley Breen performs until January 29.

The West Australian

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