I remember everyone raving about Neal Medlyn last year. I thought he was amusing, but nothing to rave about, and this year I still don’t get it. Yes, he’s funny, yes, he’s ironic and charming, yes, I laughed. But I also laugh when I’m out for karaoke and my cousin prances around to a Britney Spears song with full-tilt girlish petulance while sticking his beer belly out. I think we can all agree that things like this are funny. Call me old-fashioned, I think there is a difference between being a funny dude and being a performance artist, and I expect a little more from someone as talented as Mr. Medlyn obviously is. He’s most interesting when interacting with the audience, when he stops dancing around and lip-syncing and plays with our expectations. Great art can be made using this tossed off aesthetic—I invoke Meow Meow from last year’s TBA, who kept the audience guessing as to whether her performance was going seriously wrong, or if it was all choreographed to appear that way— but if this is what Neal Medlyn is going for, he’s not pushing his act nearly far enough. Watching him sing Phantom of the Opera in a naked suit with “I AIN’T GOT NO PRIVATES,” scrawled on it is undeniably funny, but it’s too easy, a one-punch joke. Come on, man, is that all you got?
- Faith Helma
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