Procrastination may confound human progress and productivity, but it also provides the inspiration for Brick by Brick’s fantastic, multimedia clown show. The union of office drudgery and the subdued magic of mime brings a fabulously playful air to one officer worker’s exploration of all the things he can do when he should be doing something else.
Sweet and funny and always inventive.
Jack Chamberlain stars as our protagonist and least likely candidate for Employee of the Month, working late in an attempt to finish (or rather, start) a sales presentation extolling the virtues of straws. Chamberlain is an understated clown, with the right catalogue of contorted facial expressions and confused grunts. More importantly, Chamberlain’s character has something that a lot of the more surreal, free-wheeling clowns don’t: he’s remarkably relatable. He has a crush on a colleague he refuses to act on; trawls through Facebook in favour of doing anything useful; and writes sales-speak nonsense in his straw-selling presentation.
We end up with the best of both worlds: bizarrely creative mime routines and elements from a more conventional comedy narrative. Chamberlain’s surreal film-based mime routines (Gladiator with red straws for Russell Crowe’s death-wound is inspired) are complemented beautifully by poking fun at self-congratulatory Facebook posts and the minute inflections of emoticons. There’s also a sweet relationship between Chamberlain and his love interest Sheriff conducted entirely via text, and some superbly threatening emails from Chamberlain’s angry boss. It feels like the scope of the traditional clown show is being broadened and integrated into something resembling a linear narrative – and it works fantastically.
It’s an enjoyable and unique theatrical experience, although some areas could have done with a bit of polish. At times Chamberlain could have been more in sync with the sound cues, and occasionally the multimedia aspects draws attention away from Chamberlain’s performance. But for such a simple premise, the show is so much more than you would have imagined. It takes behaviour that we can all identify with and then injects it with weirdness and wonder. Procrastinate is sweet and funny and always inventive. Chamberlain may be onto something.