Last night I got to the second of my ABSOLUT Fringe picks, the aptly titled Adventures of a Music Nerd, (Not Snob)! in the Big Blue Bus at the Bernard Shaw. I’m not feeling especially well today so I’ll keep this short and sweet but I do think the show was worth penning a few notes.
I really enjoyed the show, in a strangely affectionate, sibling sort of way. Perhaps because my own little brother is whiling away his time in Australia at the moment, and is a music nerd along the same lines as the show’s premise, I connected more than I expected with the jokes and self-depreciating manner of writer and performer Ronan Leonard. It was extremely colloquial (as I discovered after explaining about ten jokes in the first five minutes to the Belgian) and wonderful for it. Leonard started many of his music anecdotes with “Cork being Cork and me being me…” and peppered the show with anecdotes of his encounters with (his namesake) Ronan Collins and Gaybo.
The concept of the show is music bingo – each audience member is presented with a sheet with boxed phrases and told to cross them off bingo-style as they were referred to in the anecdotes. We quickly discovered this was merely a vehicle to Leonard’s storytelling ambition – after asking what to do if she got bingo, one girl was told “ah, that’s not really the point. Let’s acknowledge it internally and move on.” One of many quotable offerings, Leonard opened the show with “This is a game of bingo but, as in life, there are no prizes”.
Leonard played snippets from many tunes encountered during his life and had obviously a touch of the Blarney Stone about him as he rambled through an anecdote connected with each song; some poignant, some funny, some bizarre, some – such as his recounting of his treatment for cancer – sad enough to leave the audience in an embarrassed silence. If, like me, music for you is a powerful trigger for long-lost memories, I would highly recommend heading into the Big Blue Bus to catch Leonard’s show before it closes.
I’ll end with my favourite quote of the evening from Leonard:
“The year I was christened Johnny Logan won the Eurovision; the year I received my first communion Johnny Logan won the Eurovision; the year I made my confirmation Johnny Logan won the Eurovision… That’s why I’m never getting married!”