By Sam Anderson. Adelaide Fringe. Raj House, 54 Hyde Street. 20-25 Feb, 2018.

Plenty of people would (and do) pay for the privilege of spending 30-or-so minutes with an archetypally good-looking, charismatic motivational-speaker/personal-trainer. This one arrives complete with water bottle, tight lycra, and socks pulled up – and most importantly, bursting with enthusiasm (the exercise routines become so infectious that it’s hard to resist joining in) – but it doesn’t take long for Sam Anderson to subtly suggest the appearance of cracks in his relentless façade of exuberant confidence…

A little of Bi-Cycle has a tendency to go a long way, so it’s smart of Anderson to keep the show limited to just over half an hour. It may seem at first like a monologue of free-form ad-libbing, but there’s a definite structure and sensibility at work here, with psychological layers peeling off one-at-a-time, only for the protagonist to make a half-successful attempt to put them back on again. It makes for an intriguing, enjoyable journey.

The ultimate level of detail that Anderson brings to his characterisation is impressive, and the presentation – while it risks overloading the audience with cheery vibes that are patently masking a deeper reality – serves a valid purpose. However autobiographical Bi-Cycle may or may not be, this performer clearly possesses the self-awareness to recognise the strengths, weaknesses, and complexities of the human condition; he also has the talent to communicate them to us in an entertaining, insightful manner.

This reviewer could swear that he overheard a fellow audience member commenting post-show that “I actually feel more alive after watching that!” What better recommendation could you ask for?

Anthony Vawser

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