Birdman has had a grim couple of years. Each time disappointment or tragedy has befallen him, he manifested those things into stand-up shows in order to deal with them. After a stroke one year, a divorce the next year, and his ex getting with a new partner the following, this year, he had to buy his one daughter her first bra.
From here is where it all stems. Grimm Realities is based in the growth and imminent adolescence of his daughter and all the things he knows about the future at which she stares dead in the face.
The big theme is split into two – discovering your sexuality as you grow older, and self-acceptance and fitting in. These two are beautifully and literally illustrated in two two-part hand drawn reworkings of the Grimm Brothers tales, Red Riding Hood addressing the first, and Cinderella the second.
Between narrating his own illustrations, he did stand-up in order to progress the routine onto the next story. He expresses to us all of his fears and all the worries and bizarre encounters he will face as a part of being the father of a daughter. He beseeches the fellow fathers of daughters in the audience and makes it painfully awkward for those with daughters in the room.
His delivery of his subject matter is far from the standard seedy sordidness you might expect. He handled it and delivered the information about the innards of fatherhood in a cool, collected, and charismatic way. It was almost as if he were too cool to let these issues get to him. Despite not having a level of eccentricity, his show wasn't left to become boring.
Away from the comedy, the illustrations were hugely impressive. Pop-up books with pullers, pressers, levers and labels were impeccably designed.
Away from his daughter, he regaled us with his own worries about getting older – something he couldn't just brush over, having mentioned his stroke already. He jokes about the forward direction in which his daughter's life is headed and the backward direction in which his own heads in tandem. A militarily rehearsed show with quotidian everyman conflicts given to us in a special and innovative way. The illustrations are a touch of genius and showed off Birdman's monumental capabilities.
Catch Markus Birdman: Grimm Realities in The Canon's Gait on Canongate down the road from the Royal Mile at 15:40 for the rest of the Fringe except 17 August. Markus is performing on the Free Fringe and so don't forgive to spare a bit of money to donate if you enjoy it as much as us - https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/markus-birdman-grimm-realities