Brett Goldstein: Burning Man
Finding purpose in the flawed and absurd: with glow-sticks
This article is from 2015.
When Brett Goldstein enters, throwing shapes and wearing glow-sticks, you could be forgiven for getting the wrong idea about Burning Man. The explanation – ‘I don’t know how to start a comedy show’ – encapsulates the beautiful and purposeful absurdity of a show with an uncommon desire to navigate all the ridiculousness life can throw at you with clear thinking, an open mind and an absolutely winning generosity. Alongside painfully funny and brilliantly creative material, Burning Man has more thought and nuance in one hour than some comics’ entire careers.
In some ways, the show is a single completed thought, dragged through a startling sequence of narrative turns that include psychoactive drugs, sexual overshare, pre-adolescent existentialism and the desert festival of the title.
For all its strange and surprising meanders, Burning Man manages to make perfect sense: it’s a show genuinely in search of answers, not some answers loosely gathered into a show. Goldstein is an immaculate performer and it’s clear from the outset that you’re in the hands of a gifted professional, a generous, warm and self-critical comic with a talent for finding sense and purpose in the flawed and the absurd.
Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 31 Aug (not 17), 9.30pm, £9.50–£11 (£8–£10).