Smart, Scatter-Brained Stand Up: Death to America

2 ½ stars

In Death to America, Sean Bedlam takes his audience on a journey through the anarchic workings of his mind, loosely themed around the socio-political issues plaguing America.

His style of delivery is intentionally staccato. When the disrupted rhythm of his set is used effectively, it keeps the audience bouncing around behind his material, never quite sure what is coming next, or if he’ll actually get back to the point he started at. It’s a refreshing and unique style that certainly offers far more surprises that the average stand up comic.

Image courtesy of Sean Bedlam and Jo Bain.

Image courtesy of Sean Bedlam and Jo Bain.

The opening night performance had occasional yet significant pacing issues. We were unsure if he was really struggling with remembering his material or if the shift in pacing was intentional. By his own admission, Bedlam has been reworking the show extensively and perhaps this impacted his performance.

At times, a quicker pace serves to drive home some excellent material, and Bedlam garnishes his performance with an effective use of surprising physical comedy. His eyes dart about wildly, like those of a caged beast, and his arms occasionally take on a life of their own, flapping around randomly like a tarpaulin that has broken loose in the wind.

The venue is less than ideal for stand up comedy, with the poor placement of the ever-so-slightly too high stage and the layout of the room in general making for some challenging environmental hurdles for any performer.

Still, Bedlam made the best of a bad situation. The few incredibly scything remarks he slipped in around the theme of his show had the audience in stitches. His style is definitely one of a kind, and when it works, it’s a thing of beauty.

Tickets available from the FRINGE WORLD website.