Sam Brady ushers us into his gig and then darts behind the curtain to announce his own entrance. He has the affable and easy manner of a bloke you might get talking to at a bar, but the more he talks, the more you find he is not the average Northerner. Sam Brady was in fact a Buddhist monk. After giving up a career in IT and leaving his wife with all his worldly wealth, he spent four years meditating, mostly on the concept of kindness, and therein lies the core of his show. Why are self-centered, greedy personalities lauded by the media? What does it take to be kind? Is there enough of it in the world?
Brady’s anecdotes all have a ring of truth about them, but maybe the point is that we really do want to believe in a man and his quest for kindness. From the start there are moments of surprise in his punchlines, his timing delivered with ease; the audience responded with real chuckles. On a couple of occasions he faltered but quickly regained the thread of the story. To be fair, these setbacks were down to a few circumstances beyond his control: the show next door can sometimes be heard quite loudly and, as is the case with Free Fringe, Brady’s audience altered in size during the set - but he was kind about all of this too.
More than anything though, as he relates his struggle to be consistently kind, Brady reveals the truth of human nature: that it is possible to be grumpy and fussy but also to have moments of true kindness. As he wraps up the show, Brady becomes quite emotional as he relates a deeply moving chapter of his life; his eyes are shiny with the memory. To relive this on a daily basis must surely become cathartic eventually; I’m sure I’m not the only audience member who hopes this. This is life presented in its true form with highs and lows and much self-deprecating laughter throughout.
Brady does the kindest thing and ends the set on a high note, since true to the spirit of his intentions, kindness spreads kindness - go see for yourself and maybe feel a little less cynical about life.