Watermelon, power ballads and STI’s – just three important topics of conversation in Jude Perl’s erratic and hilarious show “Part of this Complete Breakfast.” Perl combines brilliant songwriting and existential humour in this performance as she grapples with the obstacles standing between her and her dreams.

Perl’s show consists of three different performance elements; satirical songs performed live with a piano, skits where she interacts with prerecorded imaginary characters, and good-old stand-up comedy. The strongest of these, undoubtedly, are the songs. Perl’s musical talent is unmistakable. She has charm, rhythm, cracking piano skills and a sultry voice that lends itself to the multitude of genres she satires in the show. But her lyrics are the real treat here. Perl’s attempts to write something ‘fresh,’ ‘contemporary’ and ‘edgy’ lead to a series of twisted pop-music tropes that highlight the disconnect between genuine human emotion and the oversimplified, romantic notions espoused in these songs.

The skits Perl performs set the basic storyline for the show. A young performer hires an agent who promises to release her album, but when he signs her on to write jingles for a sugar company she finds herself basically indentured to them. The archetypes that she interacts with perfectly embody the shallow nature of the advertising and music industries, and Perl performs well against the imaginary, prerecorded characters. Comic timing is difficult to perfect when working with technology, but Perl does so with ease. These segments show off her vulnerable side, which is well juxtaposed by her confident stand-up routine.

Perl’s stand-up is also well-crafted and her delivery is comfortable and confident. She does, however, seem a little over-familiar with the material, lacking the sense of spontaneity that would give some of her jokes an extra kick. These sections of the show also feel somewhat disconnected from the overarching theme. For example, she performs one extended rant about society’s fascination with fictional murder, which is funny on its own but is a little too long, and only loosely tied back in to the rest of the piece. Fortunately her bright personality and fast-paced energy mostly masks this, as the audience is quickly ushered into the next song and back into Perl’s strongest work.

Overall, “Part of this Complete Breakfast” is a fun show that mostly does a good job of balancing its many elements. It will especially appeal to those who have ever felt lost in their professional or artistic endeavours, and who enjoy an honest, funny take on their existential angst.

 

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