Thursday, 11 April 2019

The Book of Snorin': Sleep Apnea The Musical - Cabaret Review

What: The Book of Snorin' - Sleep Apnea The Musical
When: 9 - 14 April 2019
Where: The Charles Dickens Tavern
Written and performed by: Stew Walker
Stew Walker
Perhaps the only place in the world you would pay money to see a grown man walking around in flannelette pyjamas and fluffy slipper is the Comedy Festival. Any other time your instincts would probably be to call emergency services. In the basement of The Charles Dickens Tavern you can relax though, because it is just Walker giving us his hilarious take on the noisy world of snoring and sleepless nights in his show The Book of Snorin' - Sleep Apnea The Musical.

Walker has sleep apnea and in The Book of Snorin' he chronicles his attempts to save his marriage (and his life) through song and a healthy dose of self deprecation. A clever lyricist with the ability to pun on request, Walker sings us through the hour in what is probably more accurately described as a song cycle rather than a musical, bringing us lots of laughs along the way.

Sometimes the best comedy is based on serious issues and sleep apnea is a very serious issue. Not all snoring is indicative of this condition but it is a major symptom. The difference is sleep apnea is the momentary cessation of breathing which really can lead to death.

Having said that, the testing and management of the condition has a world of absurdity attached and Walker celebrates all of the silliness with us. Everything from sleep testing (which, if you have ever had it done, you well know is one of the greatest oxymorons in the world), to jaw realignment, to the use of CPAP machines, are examined under his punny plectrum and nothing is too sacred to joke about.

Having been banished from the bedroom by his wife ('Bungalo Blues'), Walker tries many things to manage his snoring beginning with losing weight. He quickly discovers 'I'm Too Lazy' and decides to cough up  the cash for more interventionist techniques.

Around one person in every ten Australians are thought to experience sleep apnea and so it is no surprise Walker finds himself strumming on his guitar and singing about walking around in a world being taken over by 'Zombies'. In fact, as he points out at the start, if anyone in the audience falls asleep he can be quite confident it is not a reflection on his show!

Walker is not a natural performer, but he is a clever lyricist with an artful take on comedy. There is also the beautiful confluence of events which means a condition known as the Pickwickian disease - because it was first mentioned by Charles Dickens in The Pickwick Papers - is the subject of a show now being performed in The Pickwick Room of The Charles Dickens Tavern!

The Book of Snorin' - Sleep Apnea The Musical is a lot of fun and The Charles Dickens tavern is a wonderful little drinking hole with lots of ambience. If you snore yourself, Walker will help you not feel alone in the world and if you live with a snorer you will learn what to do to help them and maybe save their life. All the while you will be laughing. Oh, and as Walker reveals, Karma can really kick you in the behind...

2.5 stars

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