Do you love cats, and cat-based internet humour? What about relatable quips about our feline friends? Cat Show by the Bedroom Philosopher (real name Justin Heazlewood) delivers on these fronts (this is obvious from the moment he crawls out onto stage, dressed as a cat), but also prowls into far more surreal, silly and ultimately, satisfying comedic territory.
You’d expect as much from Heazlewood, who, in his words, became a “sharehousehold name” several years ago for songs like hipster anti-anthem ‘Northcote (So Hungover)’ and the zany ‘I’m So Postmodern’. In Cat Show – the Melbourne comedian’s first MICF appearance since 2012 – Heazlewood blends off-the-wall physical comedy, songs (about cats or otherwise) and surprisingly touching personal reflections on the presence of cats in his childhood. He punctuates the action (and even interrupts songs) with offhand self-deprecating comments, which serve as a hilarious reminder that none of this – not his tuft of white chest-fur, his song about eating food from a can with his face on it or even his impressive ability to leap up to a table from crouching position – is to be taken seriously.
It makes for a warm, inclusive atmosphere. And when it comes time for Heazlewood to click through a slideshow of the cats of his childhood and a primary school presentation on the history of the cat, the audience is very much on board. That said, this is when energy levels dip, and when Heazlewood mutters that the show “needs a director,” it’s a little too close to the truth. But this is playful, untameable talent given space to explore – and Heazlewood’s erratic, introspective energy has been missed in Melbourne’s comedy scene.