Markus Birdman: Grimm Realities

Markus Birdman is a man of many talents. As well as crafting a funny and heartfelt stand-up show, he also illustrates it using story-books he’s created himself, projected onto the screen. The drawings are colourful and appealing, with bits that pop up and move around. The books are Birdman’s versions of Cinderella and Red Riding Hood, two fairy tales that have been sanitised over the years thanks to Disney and (according to Birdman) the Catholic Church. Luckily, Birdman is here to put all the sex and violence back into these fables, presenting them as cautionary tales for his young daughter.

Between the fairy tales, Birdman tells the audience stories of his experiences as a father. He admits that stand-up is how he deals with his problems, so the real-life portions of the show are frank and genuine, relatable to parents, and gentle warnings for everyone else. Birdman wants his daughter to have a realistic glimpse into what her future holds, hence the storybooks; each one contains thinly-veiled metaphors and practical life-lessons. The books are also absurd and highly entertaining. At one point Birdman asks the audience what version of Red Riding Hood we’d like to hear: the nice one, or the nasty one. Guess which one we went for.

Birdman presents his thoughts on his daughter growing up with raw honesty, which may prove uncomfortable for some. His heart is in the right place, though. Grimm Realities is an engaging and funny show for adults of all ages.

****

Stuart Addison