Saturday, June 09, 2007

Clever Dick

Richard Herring, Menage A Un, Oakengates Theatre, Telford, Thursday June 7 2007, 8pm.

Richard Herring used to be one half of a successful comedy double act with Stewart Lee in the 90s, but your correspondent didn't have much time for him then, due to an irrational hatred of his bequiffed sparring partner. Times have been leaner than his midriff for Herring since, although have warmed to him thanks to the chucklesome Sunday papers reviews he contributed to Andrew Collins' much missed 6Music show, so decide to pop along when he's decent enough to do a show in town.

Herring comes on and off stage to the strains of The Go! Team. The first half of his performance is mainly quickfire jokes, albeit with some running elements within, with Maxine C@rr and the fair borough of Telford being the most consistent butts for his comical disdain. An elderly couple in the front row are 'treated' to lurid accusations about the arid nature of their lovelife while two lovelies a further row back are regularly leered at with references to their vaginas, although to be fair they seemed quite chuffed with the attention. His persistence with these two might suggest that the comedian had taken one two many shots of 'theatrical viagra' before bounding on stage, and if so, would that be called a Herring Boner? Which just goes to show why Richard's up there being paid for telling gags on stage while your trusty hack is tapping away at his keyboard with no rhyme or AdSense.

During the interval, Herring's sitcom pilot 'You Can Choose Your Friends' is being aired on ITV1. Didn't catch any of it personally, apparently his bottom fell out if you like that sort of thing, hopefully they'll commission a series of it and your correspondent can catch up with it (the programme, not his bottom, you understand).

The second half of the performance features longer sections which split the audience somewhat. A joke about some old people on a fire feeling the cold extends into a dialogue between the left and right profiles of the characters involved, which goes on for so long that even Herring at points seems to lose track of which side he's on. Every time you think he takes a sketch as far as he can he bursts in with another lurch into lunacy with either frustrating or hilarious results, depending on your viewpoint. While this isn't to everyone's tastes, the subtle shifts from the more obvious gag material into existential territory is very clever indeed.

So that was Richard Herring, then. He was very funny and Dead Kenny laughed a lot. His comic alter-ego as a priapic slob with a bitterness and quiet desperation creeping into his otherwise eager-to-please persona and an ongoing envy towards his better-looking more successful rival may well sail pretty close to the truth, but that element of pathos probably spices up his set just as much as the monkey semen. But for Richard's own views on the evening please take a look here.



Blogger Ben said...

Sadly I missed him when he came to Cardiff - he was having the show filmed on 3rd June, the night we were up with you in Brum - but naturally I would have gone if I could, and your review certainly makes me wish I had seen it.

Glad you enjoyed it - and you're right about the way he manages to mix the scatalogical with some very clever existential stuff. Which makes me wonder why you have such an antipathy to Stewart Lee. Yes he's smug - but then he's got every right to be, he's the best stand-up around! And ultimately not that dissimilar to his former partner, either.

Incidentally, there was a very rude joke involving a pun on his name in the last show...

11:53 PM  

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