Review: Stutterpop (Sam Brooks)

February 12, 2015 in General

Sam BrooksStutterpop is a strange, yet compelling combination of stuttering and pop. Think “The King’s Speech” crossed with Nicki Minaj. It may sound bizarre, but that’s the point.

Last night was the performing debut of award-winning playwright Sam Brooks, who’s had a stutter his whole life. Rather than hiding his flaws, Sam’s chosen instead to embrace and incorporate them as part of his range of talents.

The result was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. Sam stuttered his way through several stories from his past – possibly the slowest story telling I’ve ever listened to. Sam usually only got out a few words between each round of stuttering, leaving the audience hanging on for the punch lines. They weren’t disappointed.

Stutterpop was scheduled to run for 45 minutes, but ended up being around an hour and a half. The audience was warned beforehand that the show could go overtime – stuttering’s not something over which a performer has any control.

Sam’s performance was raw and compelling. To explore your flaws in front of others is a nerve-wracking experience, and it felt as though he’d allowed his listeners to join him on a very personal journey. I wondered how much of his sass was natural, and how much of it was a coping mechanism for dealing with his differences.

Through it all, there was a very normal story about a gay boy growing up in New Zealand. Love, heartbreak and the futility of having feelings for an oblivious straight boy. (We’ve all been there…) Sam tells of how he’s often mistaken for someone with an mental disability, or someone who’s having a severe breakdown, but in the end it turns out he’s just an ordinary Kiwi guy.

Who happens to stutter.

Stutterpop runs at The Basement Theatre until Saturday Feb 14th.