By Maddy Higginson
Photo by: https://www.comedyfestival.com.au
Apprehension was felt when walking into David Tieck’s show What Would Bill Murray Do at the Imperial Hotel. He welcomed us into the room —a hairy man dancing in a pink tutu looking “like Santa if he had a less stressful job” — and his cheeky, dimpled, come-hither-looks pulled us further into his world. His world may have been incredibly bizarre, but it was also filled with a great amount of happiness, fun and the odd spot of profound beauty. Also, we had the mysterious, enveloped meaning of life to look forward to once we reached the end.
The feeling of apprehension continued throughout the show as he took us on a journey of 37 silly, fun things, beautifully illustrated in coloured textas in honour of a Bill Murray quote. The show was completely silly as he set the scene for fun; an escape from the ever-serious world. It was a mix of music, dancing, impressions, absurdist jokes and zany characters. Every time he went backstage the suspense would start all over again, never knowing who or what would emerge. He weaved through his sketches with abandon in an ever-changing wardrobe. It’s as if he raided a costume shop and just threw on whatever he liked—with the pink tutu as the only constant.
There was minimal audience participation. He often got us to close our eyes and imagine different scenarios, or sit down as if we really loved sitting down. This let the audience feel a part of the show without a strong feeling of dread at being made to participate.
He bounced energetically around the stage like the bunnies he made us imagine were hopping around in our minds; the bunnies he wanted us to emulate needing four hours of play a day . It was odd, strange and just a tad confusing in parts as there was not much cohesion to the show, but he would just giggle and smile, and we felt it would all be okay. I may not have always understood what was going on during this bombardment of random scenes, but I stayed to see what he would do next and just to stay longer in his presence.
The pace of the show altered as the end of the 50-minutes drew nearer, and we had the 37 points to get through. What began as a display of silly events split with tangents of character sketches and gags soon became a race of impressions to get us to the longed-for meaning of life.
But hidden deep amongst the absurd was also the profound and beautiful. He taught us that beauty comes from loving basically everything to the point of writing poetry about your spleen. He discussed the importance of fun and play in making the world a better place. With this show you had to lose the sense of logic and just go with him on a whirlwind journey of silliness that left you feeling energised for life ahead.
What Would Bill Murray Do is like a warm hug from a very lovely, but odd friend. Nothing in the show is what it seems, but whether or not you kept up with the show or understood all the jokes, David’s personality was captivating, and the meaning of life is definitely incentive to reach the end—as well as the bunny ears.