Review by Tatum Stafford
As we walked into the intimate venue and saw a pair of headphones on each seat, it was clear we were in for something a little different in this one-man show all about comedian Drew Michael, and in particular, the obstacles he has faced since birth related to hearing loss.
Drew opened with a few dating anecdotes before introducing us to the concept of an audio gram chart that results from an audio test, usually at birth. The chart showed Drew’s charts to be less optimal than most, and throughout the next hour, he brought us along the journey of how severely his hearing deteriorated throughout his 20s and early to mid 30s.
Drew is a captivating storyteller, and used some really creative techniques to drive messages home. About halfway through the show, we were told to put on the headphones, and we had the chance to walk in his shoes and understand how he heard the world for so many years. This included faint talking that sounded more like mumbling, only certain words or phrases coming through, and a humorous inner monologue that depicted how he would normally process situations where he couldn’t hear clearly.
There was a slight technical glitch with the headphones on opening night, but the venue staff handled this quickly and it didn’t detract from the performance.
Without revealing too much, one of the most interesting aspects of the headphone section is the way different sections of the audience are fed different things at different times – all the while, Drew is riffing as a stand-up comedian with professional ease.
The most powerful moment of this show is in its conclusion. Drew strips everything back, and sits in a chair to “switch up the blocking”. As a side note, I really loved how ‘meta’ the show was – there were a few FaceTime calls ‘from the audience’, and there was a very amusing pre-show announcement which really set the tone.
Drew is at his finest when he sits and talks to us. Without giving too much away, and as you might expect, his experiences with hearing loss have given him some a hell of a lot of perspective. It was so touching to hear about what he has learnt, what he regrets, and how he switches from “grief to gratitude” these days.
This show is a powerful glimpse into the very resilient and relatable Drew Michael. I’d highly recommend going along to hear his story, and enjoy plenty of laughs along the way.