Broadway Baby review OFI50

Richard Herring: Oh Frig, I'm 50!


The King is back, long live the King. After a couple of years away from the Fringe the self proclaimed, (although no one is arguing with this notion) King of the Fringe is back on familiar territory.

Catch this thought provoking show from a comedian that is growing old gracefully, and that’s no bad thing.

This is a year of landmarks for the comedian. He is celebrating the 30th Anniversary of first performing at the Fringe. This is his also his 40th Edinburgh show in what is his 50th year. Oh Frig, I'm 50!, reflects on that milestone. It's a typical Richard Herring show that is thematically stitched together with a strong narrative arc. The jokes are funny, poignant and at times rude, but this is in keeping with what fans have come to expect. There is something for everyone in the packed out Pleasance One. The diehards who follow his every move will be aware of a number of the references that crop up in his show from listening to his podcasts. These are worth hearing again. Those not familiar with his act enjoy a number of the gags and the occasional deviations from the theme of the show. The way he works the room gets everyone in on the more esoteric material quite quickly.

There are a number of call backs to his previous shows, in particular Oh Fuck, I'm 40! Having missed the previous festivals, he has given himself time to reflect on his earlier work and this is the first new show for a couple of years.

A great deal has changed in ten years of the life of Richard Herring. He’s gone from going through the classic midlife crisis to being a happily married man with one child and another on the way. On stage, the character that he plays is almost an exaggerated version of himself and one that almost laments this change in his circumstances. Deep down you know that that Herring is happy with his lot, it is still a rich source of material for his shows as a number of the props on the stage highlight.

What hasn't changed in the intervening years and that is so good about his comedy writing is that he fills his show with jokes that work in isolation and are funny in their own right. These are often picked up later on the performance and stitched together to form this beautifully woven show. He pokes fun at other more conventional comedians with their line of observational humour. He tries to do it and intentionally it's quite clumsy. Herring is such a master comedian that you know that he could do this type of comedy in his sleep but he aims for something more cerebral. You often come away from one of shows feeling both entertained and educated in equal measure. That is no different from tonight’s performance.

Thankfully there is the promise of Oh Shit, I’m 60! Who knows what will change in that intervening period, but until then (and more in the intervening period) you can catch this thought provoking show from a comedian that is growing old gracefully, and that’s no bad thing.