4 star review in the Metro
Ménage À Un
Richard Herring claims to have spent more than a year of his life at the Fringe. Judging by the programme he hands out in this show, however, it's been a devoted slog.
Last year, he deconstructed Catholicism in Someone Likes Yoghurt. Before that, he endeavoured to accomplish (in a sort of modern sense) the 12 tasks of Hercules. And a year previously, he was manfully (and literally) Talking Cock.
The hours he's put in really do show. He may not be such a household name as former partner in crime Stewart Lee, but the portly 39-year-old walks onstage like an old pro.
This year, he's continued to wrap his jokes with a vague theme in Ménage À Un, a lamentation on solo life. He clearly has fun pushing the boundaries of taste with his line on how great it would be to date Maxine Carr. Another gag, which sees him off to the Hand Job Centre car wash, combines his anally retentive nature with a nice line in toilet humour.
The idea of a ventriloquist's dummy trying to oust his creator is an age-old joke. Yet Herring nicely reinterprets it, taking on the guise of two deliberately poorly defined characters attempting to command some stage time, but also brutally aware that they're nothing outside of Herring's furtive imagination.
He doesn't leave his higher-profile past untouched, however, and laconically makes references to his 1990s TV heydey, most notably with Lee on This Morning With Richard Not Judy. He didn't reach the mainstream heights predicted for him back then, but that's no bad thing. He's confident, he's blogging and one suspects that a sold-out intimate room in the Underbelly suits him far better.
Until Aug 27, Underbelly (V61), 8.30pm. www.underbelly.co.uk