Dan Lees: Brainchild (2 stars)

This article is from 2015

Dan Lees: Brainchild

A call-and-response, hat-happy physical comedy flop

There’s something beautiful about a whole audience working together, united in the moment towards one goal. Dan Lees is unlikely to agree as, two thirds of the way through an hour of repetitive call-and-response skits, the crowd rebels and refuses to follow his instructions, garnering the most laughter of the whole ordeal.

Throughout, Lees wears a lot of hats, literally. In each sketch he dons a prop, speaks unintelligibly then directs the audience to copy him, with diminishing returns. There’s something sadistic about setting everyone up to fail as the responses get more and more impossible. There are some moments of relief, courtesy of Lees’ skill at physical comedy and this reaches its peak in a segment where the audience collectively chooses dance moves for him to perform. That the hat he was wearing at this time corresponded with the dance moves seemingly chosen freely by the audience could be a coincidence, but it would be nice to believe it was by his design.

The sketch during which the rebellion occurred is a parody of the call-and-response format of the Catholic mass. It’s possible that Lees manufactured the rebellion as a commentary on organised religion. If so, the revelation isn’t worth enduring the lesson.

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Dan Lees: Brainchild

  • 2 stars

Dan Lees Life's weightier questions are thoroughly demolished in Dan Lees' Brainchild, an award-winning physical comedy that veers from the profound to the ridiculous. A host of bizarre characters explore the futility of our existence, from a cheese-loving Pope to a lonely cowboy with only a goldfish for a friend.