Scotsman Review of THS
Comedy review: Richard Herring - The Headmaster's Son
Published Date: 23 August 2008
By MATT BRERETON
RICHARD HERRING â€“ THE HEADMASTER'S SON ****
UNDERBELLY (VENUE 61)
SINCE splitting from his long-time cohort Stewart Lee and largely disappearing from our television screens, Richard Herring has gone through a series of identity crises, all of which he has used as the basis for successive Fringe routines.
First he was worried that he was forever doomed to live the life of a serial womaniser, then he worried he was over the hill when he hit 40, this year he is trying to work out whether the fact that his father was also the headmaster at the school he attended as a teenager growing up in Cheddar was responsible for thwarting his ambitions and dreams, and turning him into the faintly disappointed and disappointing man he is today.
Bounding on to the stage, he is a bundle of mildly self-deprecating energy, diverting from his opening spiel only for a spot of blasphemy and a reference or two to this year's comedy taboo: Josef Fritzl, the man who imprisoned and impregnated his own daughter in an Austrian cellar.
As he explores the question of whether he is a product of nature or nurture, he is aided greatly by his own precocious teen journals, which he kept fastidiously and wrote seemingly with his future stand-up self in mind, given the comedy gems contained within.
From the diary we learn the headmaster's son was self-righteous, terrified of not conforming and beaten into second place in just about everything by school golden boy Steve Cheek. On the other hand he was conscientious, cared about the homeless and, when he at last got a girlfriend, really rather sweet towards her.
In the end, he is unable to conclude whether his schooldays had an adverse effect on him or not; but either way his routine this year is as tight as a nut, and packed full of laughs. In fact, you sense the only thing that could put a dampener on Herring this year would be to find that Steve Cheek has his own stand-up show just up the road, and has bagged five stars.