Tim Minchin’s quite literally back. The tour posters and theatre curtain show the man facing away on the piano. He’s living in Australia again for the first time in years. Now he’s on his first major Australian tour since playing with Australian orchestras seven years ago. One of Perth’s most highly regarded exports (forget that he was born in London, he’s ours!) has finally returned and he has some stories to tell. Welcomed with rapturous applause at Crown Theatre, it’s almost like Tim Minchin is back where he belongs.
That may not be entirely true, he’s done crazy well writing for musicals Matilda and Groundhog Day, but Minchin looks entirely at home on stage. He welcomed us with a warm grin and began with a double shot of Plane Goes Down and F Sharp. Both are musically complex numbers but the piano is essentially an extension of the man. He could have been a concert pianist in another life but reality seems so much more fun both for him and us. Following the intro, Minchin takes the first of many show interludes to keep the crowd laughing. Most musician banter can get tiring after a while, but equally an accomplished comedian as a musician, this is never the case for Minchin.
The show is a combination of what Minchin calls ‘old songs, new songs, and f**k you songs’. Both because it’s true and that it rhymes, a well enough reason if there was one. This writer was particularly overjoyed to hear the jazz-tinged classic Mitsubishi Colt (Elton John interpolation and all), Thank You God, and the biographical tale Rock N Roll Nerd.
It’s halfway through the show when Minchin lets out a genuinely extra-musical surprise. It would spoil the show to reveal the moment but the evening is turned on it’s head and nearly prompts an early standing ovation. Minchin revels in the moment and it’s practically worth the admission price alone.
In a later interlude, Minchin begins ‘So after he was charged…’ and the question many have been waiting for is answered. Will he play the Cardinal Pell song? The song that made headlines in 2016 when Pell was refusing to speak about abuse within the church. The answer is no, but Minchin’s insight into the case and the part that his song played is fascinating in itself. He then follows with the only song that could justify any appropriate response to that entire situation: The Pope Song.
The show concludes with a song each from Groundhog Day and Matilda. Although Matilda’s already finished a phenomenally successful run in Perth, hopefully Groundhog Day will be here before you can say ‘Punxsutawney Phil’. It’s an inspired finale to a biographical set of consistent highlights. If there’s any criticism, he just couldn’t play it all… whether you were hoping for ‘Dark Side’ or modern Aussie Christmas tribute ‘White Wine In The Sun’. Maybe next time, let’s just hope it doesn’t take Tim Minchin another seven years to come back.
Tim Minchin is currently performing across Australia.
Dates can be found at timminchin.com