Sydney Entertainment Centre
After the annunciation of Australian tour dates Russell Brand fans and freaks everywhere grabbed their tickets and awaited a show we all knew would encompass his signature elements of grit, intelligence and awkwardness. Brand's flair for language and effective craft work over speech has certainly proved him to be a one man show. An impressive portrayal of various characters comes through in his efforts to draw his audience into his past, in which he struggled with years of heroin, alcohol and sexual addiction. (A bizarre sex appeal it would seem, although the screaming girls amongst each row in the auditorium may have said otherwise).
Recent years have been quite eventful for Brand with opportunities multiplying along with the count of his fan base. Russell has fulfilled his dreams of appearing in Hollywood films along with touring sold out stand up shows internationally. Events which offer Brand the opportunity to completely show off. And why deny him that? He is marvelously good at it. His controversial comments on both celebrities and those unfortunate enough to be targeted in audiences have only added to his unique style as a performer. His best-selling autobiography provided fans with a vivid recount of a strangely melancholic history, dwelling into his drug habits, sexual abuse and painful efforts to maintain a presence on stage and camera. With these events acting as a guideline for most performances Brand has demonstrated how a transition in perception can become a comedic art.
The audience of The Sydney Entertainment Centre on July 10th seemed to be under a false sense of security. Given all the recent coverage of Brand over the past year, we seemed to have a grasp on what we were about to witness, although we had no idea. But then Russell had no idea that at some point a cross dressing-blue haired fan would approach him and ask for a hug, a fan which Brand described as a "transvestite Katy Perry". Judging by the laughs that proceeded, I think the audience had deemed that statement an accurate description... It was obvious that the beginning 15 minutes of the show (during which Brand walked amongst the audience), everyone's ideas about the direction of the performance were shattered. The nature of unpredictability is definitely an element that Brand thrives off. Preying on the Twilight cast and some random guys dad during a prank call, Brand had some audience members literally gasping and wide mouthed. His ability to improvise a large percentage of his material in front of 7000 people is not only hilarious, but incredibly impressive. Commenting on the ridiculous Sydney-Melbourne rivalry and Australia's early relocation of English convicts - he had certainly captured his Australian audience.
It was everything an audience could ask for and more. Except perhaps for those token people who are dragged along to an event with no previous knowledge of the performer.. Before entering the auditorium I distinctly heard some older guy in suit ask, "He's English isn't he?". I wondered what his reaction was when a grown man began fornicating with a plastic chair on stage in tight clothing. Brand's uncontrollable antics were certainly the highlight of his performance. It is difficult to leave a show disappointed and without a few more words blended into your vocabulary. His professional history and recent accomplishments have been a dream come true. He has captivated audiences with behaviour that has often mirrored the essence of a rockstar. Most attempts at describing Brand's act would simply feel like an understatement. It would be more beneficial to just experience it.