Published on theMusic.com.au, Sept 2016
Over the better part of two decades, BBC legend Louis Theroux has become just as an intriguing as some of the talent he pursues in his documentaries, albeit not as damaged or dangerous.
His first Australian tour was finally a chance for fans to get insight into the awkwardly charming character that’s spent countless hours in so many of our living rooms.
A screening of some investigative journalism filmed on the streets of Perth earlier this week gave a modest representation of his level of celebrity, but there was no denying his fame once he entered the theatre, to the point he needed to hush the audience to get a greeting in.
Theroux’s trademark demeanour was immediately on show and sitting slightly hunched, he dished up carefully paced anecdotes that felt almost as though he was nervously reading from notes he’d been rehearsing backstage.
It was that relatable, vulnerable charisma the world fell in love with and why – especially in person – he comes across as so down to earth.
The screen behind Theroux and host Julia Zemiro played highlights from all aspects of his extensive career, weighted heavily on Weird Weekends and only briefly touching on this month’s My Scientology Movie.
Commentary from colleagues, friends and family quickly dispelled any inkling of onscreen faux naivety and even had him blushing at times, forced to re-watch some of the more cringe-worthy moments of his travels.
The show was well-structured, but there was a jarring juxtaposition between Theroux‘s laid-back, soothing pace and the peppy nature of Zemiro. Theroux often delivers his best lines and charm when given space, letting his thoughts simmer before adding witty conclusions to ideas, but he was too often cut off. A conversation on the power of silence was even hindered by a lack of it.
During segues and longwinded questions from Zemiro, Theroux’s eyes darted around the room in deep concentration.
His observations were put to good use when he grabbed a mic and ventured to the nosebleed section to interrogate audience members, an exercise that resulted in a rap about a punter with a “heart condition that was a bit of a strange addition”. So lame, but so endearing.
The most captivating moments came when Theroux was left by himself under a solo spotlight. One such time saw him reflect on how “troubled” he now finds it reviewing his documentary on one of Britain’s worst paedophiles and disgraced former DJ Jimmy Savile.
It was during these intimate glances into his inner workings that fans were truly given relatable, useful advice on how to tackle life.
Viewing his Louis Theroux’s work in such a succinct and powerful manner proved just how big an impact the journalist-turned-celebrity has had on the world on numerous levels.