MICF Review: Grant Busé’s The Birds and the Beats is lovingly fair (performances until April 23rd)

SEX! Now that I’ve got your attention – imagine a darkened room, an empty stage, when suddenly a 27-year-old, self-described as the love child of Kurt Cobain and the Paddle Pop Lion, demonstrates his conception and birth using various props and an amply-placed curtain. The man is Grant Busé and it’s the intro into his MICF show, The Birds and the Beats – a sex-ed musical comedy for modern day adults.

Where sex is traditionally taught in being a bland, scientific and non-emotional way; Grant aims to “fill your hole” with knowledge in this charming, funny and entertaining show. Mixing original lyrics with iconic songs (This Is How We Do It by Montell Jordan, for example), good vocals and talented songwriting; Grant draws on his own sexual experiences and his own background in teaching to answer the questions you were too afraid to ask in school.

In a refreshingly, open and honest forum, you get to know a lot about Grant and the audience around you, as he welcomes questions and encourages audience participation – this includes sing-alongs (“When I say ‘vagina’, you say ‘penis’”), Q&A and pop-quiz. A souvenir gift – handed out near the end of the show – is included in your ticket price.

He uses a backing track, audio looping, vocal recordings, the guitar, props, beat boxing and rap, alongside every pun, euphemism and comedic segway to educate the audience. Grant sheds light on the holes in school’s current sexual education system and tackles first times (including losing his virginity to Mel Gibson – figuratively or literally, I’ll let you find that out), heterosexual and homosexual sex, kinks and BDSM (bondage, discipline, dominance and submission, sadomasochism), sex in the animal kingdom, the joy of sex and aphrodisiacs, trust and consent, condoms and safe sex.

It’s the unscripted, ad-libbing where he shines brightest – using a little rude wordplay to playfully berate some latecomers –  but there’s not enough of it. The transition between song and speech is sometimes jarring. While I’ve seen this done more successfully at other MICF shows, our audience is partly to blame, as we didn’t give him much to work with. I can only imagine how much better it would work with a more interactive audience. The room was relatively full (only one-or-two spare seats remained) so size isn’t to blame.

While Grant joked he would have to “screw the reviewer” for a five-star review, top marks for the cracks about Frankston and Dandenong. The Birds and the Beats may offend the more prudish audience members, but you’re guaranteed to learn something new along the way.

Grant is an accomplished Melbourne-based comedian and actor with experience in theatre, film, television and radio. He has toured both nationally and internationally. He was a state finalist in the coveted Melbourne International Comedy Festival Raw Comedy competition and was nominated for Best Comedy at Perth’s Fringe World Festival in 2015.

Grant Busé: The Birds and the Beats is playing at La Barre Electronique until April 23rd as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. More info here.

The reviewer attended the show on April 5th.