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Review: Michelle Brasier - Average Bear at Sydney Theatre Company

Review by Lauren Donikian

A sing-along, laughter, and tears? Yes. All three are true of Average Bear. In this one hour special written and performed by Michelle Brasier we are introduced to a bear that is holding a hibernation party and the ‘entertainment’ that was hired for the night being Brasier. 

In this show Brasier talks about her life as a teenager growing up in Wagga, the life experience that she was forced to look for and the life experiences she ultimately lived. Through songs we learn of the simplicity of her life in Wagga to the heartbreaking moments that have shaped her into the woman and performer she is today. With the use of comedy, and storytelling Brasier shares her stories of loss, grief, and hopes for the future. She is a true millennial at heart, but everyone can relate to the story she is telling. 

Pop music plays as you enter the theatre and there is cabaret style seating in the first half of the room, with the second half theatre seating. There is red lighting and Brasier is walking around the theatre chatting to people. In her black bodysuit, leather shorts, black stockings, and bear ears she is greeting her audience. A band is set up on stage and includes a guitar, violin, piano, accordion and a looper pedal. Tim Lancaster accompanies Brasier on guitar during the show and through life and it is fun to watch them interact. Throughout the performance the lights change from red to blue during solitary moments, with a couple of blackouts and of course a spotlight when Brasier is singing during a pivotal moment in the show.    

There is nothing average about Michelle Brasier, and if there is it wasn’t on display. Her voice is powerful, and emotive and her lung capacity is astonishing. Made more obvious by the quick quips that she sneaks in during the songs and the speedy way she talks at times. It adds to the comedy and draws you in as you don’t want to miss a single lyric or joke muttered under her breath. She is raw, honest, and has cleverly used ‘Average’ the bear to represent a side of herself that she has left behind. Someone shy, and unsure of themselves and where they fit in the world. There is an assuredness to Brasier now, a confidence that even when a joke is missed or doesn’t land with her audience, she reels them back in with her sassy remarks. For someone that has been through so much and lives with uncertainty it is easy to understand that hibernation would be welcome relief, but that wouldn’t be true for Brasier, who has handled all things in her life head on. With love, laughter, and a passion for life Brasier is intent on living every moment to its fullest and thinks you should too. A message that is loud and clear to the audience in the final blackout. 

Image Supplied


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