This was originally posted on Gay Times.
Mad Men and Broadway star Bryan Batt in his show, Batt On A Hot Tin Roof.
When Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc in his hometown of New Orleans, Bryan Batt agreed to raise money by commemorating his life there in a performance. There was only one small problem, he’d never done a one-man show before. You’d have no idea he was a newcomer is this if it weren’t mentioned, though; Batt’s clearly a natural performer with a huge passion for cabaret shows. Batt On A Hot Tin Roof is an honest, moving and comical performance based solely on his life.
He knows exactly how to work an audience, with a huge variety of content that never goes stale. There’s something magical about someone who can single handedly keep and audience engaged for over an hour, and Batt’s performance is just that. With moving and often hilarious anecdotes from his life intertwined perfectly with a mixture of original and Broadway songs, he gives off a friendly and welcoming vibe that makes you feel like you’ve known him for years. This comes off particularly strong in stories from his upbringing, where he speaks candidly and often comically of his sexuality, how he was inspired so strongly by his family and his discovery of theatre. There are times when he can appear to be a little cheesy, which are slightly cringe worthy, but this barely affects the overall performance.
As expected, original songs feature heavily in the show. Way Ahead of My Time, where he sings about the first gay caveman, is a touching and funny number, with Sentimental Song being another amusing highlight. But it’s not all funny, and he balances the comedy well with slightly more gritty and true tales, including his What You’d Call A Dream. This especially makes for a wonderful watch and really hooks you in.
As well as his own material, he sings a small selection of well-known songs and songs that he just happens to like. His rendition of Downtown by Petula Clark is a particular highlight, as well as several other songs from his past Broadway shows. With a voice resonating from the stage, he lulls the audience into his bubble. If anything, both his stories and performances were bursting with camp. Without this, the show just couldn’t have worked.
Batt will be performing his last show at The Crazy Coqs tomorrow, Saturday 7th June, and tickets cost £25. For more information, click here
GT gives it: 4/5