Michael Brunström: Parsley

★★★
comedy review | Read in About 2 minutes
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Michael Brunström
Published 17 Aug 2017

What connects the garden herb parsley, literary figure George Orwell, and the music of Celine Dion? To be honest, I'm still not sure, but in the labyrinthine brain of surrealist clown Michael Brunström they add up to a pretty entertaining 50 minutes.

Parsley is the key theme here, plundered for every ounce of preposterous enjoyment. There are parsley-based songs, parsley folklore, parsley facts, a pictorial parsley demonstration. There's an opportunity for audience members to come onstage and recreate a Greek myth about the origins of parsley, and some classic crowd work in which Brunström divides the room down the middle, with one side supporting flat leaf and the other curly. Christ, he's even dressed as a sprig of parsley.

It's an impressive feat of thematic coherence for a man otherwise wholeheartedly committed to the joy of utter nonsense. In between, a few comic non sequiturs and bizarre skits—featuring the aforementioned Orwell and Dion alongside world war two, some cockney tradesmen and an amorous metronome—seem to function as light relief from the important business: talking more about parsley.

Brunström's herbaceous approach looks to be working too, with standing room only in an appreciative afternoon audience. As he himself quips, after Brexit and Trump we're all in a post-truth world, with everyone "living in their own little reality funnels". Better a cocoon of horticultural absurdism than one of hate and bile. The point of it all is to relax and enjoy the pointlessness, which feels pleasantly welcome in these troubled times.