By George Fenn
Stand Up Comic, Justin “Rusty” White, takes the stage in a shirt reading “East School Board of Trustees” and a yellow question mark printed on the front. While this shirt is inconsequential to Rusty’s hour, I feel it offers apt metaphor to the themes of his material, fusing existential questions, stories of a rebellious youth and a splash of domestic advice for parents.
The tone and pace of the performance curates a looming suspense, captivatingly taxing steadily from zero to one hundred. The audience sits in anticipation of the speed bumps, having learned from his opening subversions of our expectation. It doesn’t take long to realise Rusty’s streetwise ride is; despite a fearless mix of form and content, constructed with intention and intelligence.
His cynicism justifies itself through self aware assessment of his life. Gritty autobiography eschews bravado for a frankness that somehow passes as emotional honesty. It is amazing seeing this tone lighten as he talks about his children. We get a multifaceted perspective of someone who has adopted the name of oxidised iron.
I Learnt Something Once is somewhat inaccurate title in the sense that leaving your seat you get the impression that Justin White AKA Rusty has learnt quite a few things. Not only funny, White is a skilled comic who can handle an audience with precision and care. You are in safe hands, despite appearances.