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Comic has curious charm
Pat Burtscher

COMEDY

Pat Burtscher's Overwhelmed

3.5 stars

DeLuxe

REVIEW: Sinead McKeough

"Nobody loves their job," Pat Burtscher proclaimed part way through his Wednesday night show, before adding that he doesn't even love his. Stand up is, apparently, just the thing he hates doing least.

Which is fortunate for both his audience and the man himself, because he happens to be rather good at it.

After informing everyone at the top of the show that he isn't drunk (an assurance that is justified if you are - like many of his Fringe World audience may well be - unfamiliar with him), Burtscher meanders casually into an hour of highly disjointed but genuinely funny comedy.

On preview night, Burtscher pulled ideas and observations from his pocket on slips of paper and relayed them at random. In this way, instead of following a narrative or grounding theme, Overwhelmed rolls out like a daisy chain of unrelated thoughts woven together with sincerity and wit.

The performance's lack of structure is sometimes amusing, other times frustrating, and seems an odd approach as it could well divide his audience.

Still, there is much to enjoy. The Canadian, who returns after last year's Fringe World debut, questions everything, and happily follows his meandering train of thought from one tangent to another. He hurls opinions out with a smile and a shrug, and this offbeat delivery is disarming to the point where even if you find yourself disagreeing, you'll probably still be nodding along.

To sit in Burtscher's audience is to watch him create the show you're sure he should have already put together. And like a sandcastle sculpted by a child, the show he crafts isn't perfect. The foundation is broad, not all of the parts stick together properly, and some bits are bound to crumble away instead of adding to the overall form.

However, it can also be great fun to watch the castle grow, and in the end, more likely than not Burtscher's curious charm will simply make you want to help him build it.

Pat Burtscher's Overwhelmed ends on Sunday