Fast-paced spoken word from the punk-rock raconteur
This article is from 2010.
Henry Rollins hates inactivity. His opening salvo – and this is surely the only term to use, as his stream-of-consciousness rants hit home like artillery-fire – concerns his need to exercise earlier in the day, despite it being his scheduled day off from working out; he just had too much energy to burn, and this evening’s show couldn’t come soon enough.
This energy is ever apparent: Rollins hurtles through the show (and ‘hurtling’ is a word he uses himself more than once) at breakneck speed, jumping from political soliloquies to Hollywood anecdotes to tales of prostate examination without pausing for breath. Rollins has honed this method of delivery through years of performance, and this may be where a problem arises: the audience just can’t keep the pace. If this was stand-up, there’d be breaks for laughter; if it was theatrical oratory, there’d be pauses for applause. Both these things do happen throughout the show, but Rollins steamrolls over them, trying to fit in as many words as his hour allows; towards the end, the crowd’s energy is on the wane.
For a truly brilliant show, Rollins would have to slow down a bit, and take some time out to develop great material – but slowing down and taking time out are two things he is loathe to do. There’s also little incentive in it for him: the performance receives a standing ovation, not because it’s perfect, but because he’s Henry Rollins – and no amount of practise will improve that.
Udderbelly Pasture, 08445 458252, until 29 Aug, 8.50pm, £15