Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall: Success Arms

At first glance, Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall appears a mild mannered, softly spoken young man, cutting an endearing figure as he gently chatted with the audience throughout the show, never failing to engage directly during his set piece material. However, this image of the shy, unassuming comic belies his utterly filthy material, including graphically detailed sections describing genitalia and an extended joke about… well, piss.

Trembley-Birchall certainly has a way with words, painting quirky images in your mind’s eye and drawing you along with the joke until you can't help but laugh.

That's not to say that Tremblay-Birchall is relying on rude words to get a laugh, or spouting any kind of misogynist "banter". The ruder sections gain their comedy from a very human, matter of fact approach, and any shock value that the jokes may have is cut with flights of fancy, whimsical asides that soften the blow and make the simplistic style a little more three dimensional. A horrifying joke about throwing unsavory objects at the author of The Secret is drawn out to the ridiculous extreme through an extended acting out that creates whimsy from a premise that should, by rights, be merely revolting.

Trembley-Birchall certainly has a way with words, painting quirky images in your mind’s eye and drawing you along with the joke until you can't help but laugh. This is particularly true throughout the opening joke discussing the idea of “success arms”, during which his commitment to the physicality of the joke creates an open vulnerability that instantly wins you over.

Unfortunately, the show tails off a little towards the end, and there is no real pay off or conclusion, just abruptly ending with a thank you and a smile in a way that proved a little unsatisfying. The show is simplistic in form, a list of vaguely connected jokes, with a rhythm and structure that conjures images of a faux brick wall backdrop and spotlight in a late night comedy club, but it's competently performed, and enjoyable to watch, despite a few moments that border on the obscene.

Reviews by Jane Thompson

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The Blurb

Tremendous Canadian-Australian stand-up Alasdair Tremblay-Birchall does a lot of jokes about bleakness, but in a fun way! Since 2009, Tremblay-Birchall has charmed audiences around the world with his unique brand of ‘delightfully quirky stand-up’ (Chortle.co.uk). This year, ATB graces the UK for the first time with jokes so good you'll be bleeding from the ears - in a good way. ‘Seth Rogen meets Woody Allen’ **** (Herald Sun). ‘Delightfully quirky stand-up that offers treats for every audience’ (Steve Bennett, Chortle.co.uk). ‘Warm, confident and occasionally absurd’ (TheAge.com.au).