York Press review of The Best

Herring, The Best – Preview, White Rose Rotunda, Parliament Street, York, July 26

Richard Herring, at his Best at the Great Yorkshire Fringe.  Dan Bean

SELF-PROCLAIMED tiny-handed son of Pocklington Richard Herring whipped through his stand-up career to a packed White Rose Rotunda on Tuesday night, with his Best Of preview.

It can’t be easy for an artist to pick their favourite sections of their back catalogue, let alone to form a coherent 60-minute show which fuses together topics as diverse as the perils of romantic gestures and the inconsistencies of the New Testament.

Yet Herring manages to make the transition of material from 12 previous stand-up shows appear seamless, and on the rare occasion there’s a noticeable jump between topics, the jump itself raises a laugh.

Although the material is not new, whether he’s riffing on the problems with living life by a motto, or the rules held by gym teachers over what is and is not acceptable on the football pitch, Herring’s delivery and the quality of the material makes it appear fresh.

The complicated section on the problems with page one of the New Testament is introduced as such, and Herring’s stumbling during an otherwise amazing recounting of all that begatting is instantly forgiven by the crowd, and forgotten minutes later as he recounts the family tree of Jesus Christ in reverse – a feat all the more impressive considering the original tour was 15 years ago and even the Second Coming show was six years ago.

Herring: "You must think my dad’s proud of me. He’s not, he’s ashamed.". Picture: Kippa Matthews

Mixed among the material are flashes of self-awareness (“Best of doesn’t mean good, just the best I have”), the wry acknowledgement that he’ll forever be known in Yorkshire as a local boy, and his father’s opinion of his work (“You must think my dad’s proud of me. He’s not, he’s ashamed”), which endear Herring even more to the crowd.

Like all greatest hits collections, it is best experienced live, but however you see or hear it, you’re sure to enjoy.