‘Andrew and the Pony’ is, oddly enough, the story of how performer Andrew Bridges has always, since early childhood, desperately wanted a pony and of all the bizarre situations this desperate burning desire has led him into.
Except it isn’t, because the very childhood diaries which give a foundation of truth to the tale are obviously made-up. A diary from seven-years-old which writes in the voice of David Mitchell, a 16-year-old self recounting his sexual exploits in a conveniently bait-and-switch pun form, these are the apparent inspiration for the show’s theme. But if they’re totally made up it begs the question of why Bridges has chosen to limit himself to such an uninspiring subject.
Executionally, the show’s quite nicely put together. As a professional filmmaker, Bridge’s animations and live clips are polished and the grotesque characters he has created are surreally amusing. And Bridges himself is an engaging performer, if slightly in love with the sound of his own voice.
The show describes itself as both ‘comedy’ and ‘storytelling’ and herein lies the problem; by trying to do both it doesn’t really do either very well. If Andrew’s quest for equestrianism is meant to form a central structure for his original comedy material, that’s fine – except there isn’t any material about anything other than ponies.
And if the story itself is the point of the exercise then it needs to be a better story. The plot’s a bit too thin and nonsensical, there’s nothing to engage the audience, no reason to care as its entirely-fictional nature isn’t balanced out by the ‘be yourself and reach for your dreams’ moral hastily tacked on the end. Excellent storyteller performers like Hugh Hughes or Daniel Kitson leave you with a sense of wonder – simply wondering if you missed the point is not the same thing.
Pleasantly-crafted twaddle but don’t expect more than a bit of an occasional giggle.