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Review: O'Brother! Tales From an Only Child at Bard's Apothecary - Melbourne Fringe

Review by Jessica Flynn


“O’Brother! Tales from an Only Child” by Jett Bond was a fantastical and abstract sketch comedy exploring the impact of an only child's childhood through humour and physical comedy. The show begins with a hilarious content disclaimer that he does not in fact hate his parents, setting the tone for a journey through his life right from the beginning of time (when Jett was born obviously) through the folly of school through to adulthood (or Jett’s version of it).


The show was constantly changing and evolving to keep the audience on their toes which is an impressive feat for one man, and a few select props. It is a heavily interactive show and I enjoyed watching Jett word-spur with the other audience members and getting involved myself. Jett was skilled at responding in real time while also maintaining an energy of playfulness and respect. If being called out and speaking in front of a small group of people is not really your thing, Jett gives you a signal to use early on to avoid any awkward moments so there is no need to stress. However, do note that there are references to animal cruelty and fake blood that might be confronting for some.

The venue, Bard’s Apothecary, was an intimate space underneath their main bar that served well for a small show. It was the perfect space to lean back with a glass of Shiraz and Jett didn’t even need a microphone, so it felt like it was like a conversation with friends. I left the evening feeling like I knew the personalities of everyone else in the room which made it not just a solo performance but an all-inclusive show. As an only child myself, I loved the subtle and subversive nods to this lifestyle, including the stereotype that only children can’t share and the desperate participation in extracurricular activities trying to make friends. Jett held a wonderful and warm energy throughout the show that invited you into the joke and encouraged everyone to have fun with him. The format of the show was quite random and abstract so I would encourage audiences to lean into the chaotic madness and go along with it. While it was a ‘one-man show’, I would also like to give a special shout out to the sound and lighting team for their ability to quickly sync to the show’s pace to create an even more immersive experience and adding, rather than subtracting, from the atmosphere and humour. Some pre-recorded skits added another layer to the show that made the show more dynamic and it felt like there were multiple performers there with us as Jett interacted with the sounds in real-time.

All in all, “O’Brother! Tales from an Only Child” was an entertaining and explosive show that can be appreciated by both recovering ‘only child’ adults and those who have had the 'pleasure' of knowing only children - I look forward to Jett Bond’s next adventure!

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