Some shows are better seen with as little knowledge as possible about what it is, who you’re watching and what might happen. This is one of those shows. If you are considering booking Jordan Brookes – Bleed, book your ticket now and stop reading this review, having any preconceived ideas or knowledge of what could happen will lessen your enjoyment. If you aren’t considering booking tickets for the show, please stop reading and go and book tickets anyway, it was one of the most interesting and exciting shows I have seen in years, it is a show that will stay with me for many weeks and it is a performance like none I have witnessed before.
Right, now with that said, we may begin. Jordan Brookes tells us that he’s “the riskiest comic in the biz”, he tells us repeatedly until the words he is saying don’t make sense anymore and the audio is warped to the point of being unintelligible and unsettling to hear. This is a mixed media performance combining live stand-up, audio tracks and audio manipulation of the live show. Jordan begins the show with some light audience interaction, he reassures us a number of times that this isn’t the show and that it’s just the pre-show and we mustn’t worry if we zone out and think about something else for a while, it’s an odd start. The Cloakroom at the Town Hall feels a little noisier than normal tonight, I’ve seen lots of shows in this room before and I don’t remember the trams being that loud and I don’t recall being able to hear laughter and noise from the other rooms. From the start something just doesn’t seem quite right with the performer, the room, the audience and Brookes builds on this tension and unease throughout.
Bleed will challenge what you think stand-up comedy should be and what it can be. It will make you laugh, but at the same time make you feel very isolated and unsettled in the space. It will make you question what is real and will expose you to the inner mind of a performer and the creative journey. The show deals heavily with mental health, anxiety and the constant desire for acceptance. It is very funny, but it is not a conventional stand-up show, you don’t walk away from this trying to remember the best joke, you walk away questioning what it made you think and what it made you feel. This probably isn’t a show for everyone, but if you are open to performance rather than straight comedy and are comfortable with being uncomfortable, please go and see it.
Jordan Brookes performs Bleed at The Town Hall until April 21st