List review of COAB

Richard Herring - Christ on a Bike (3 stars)

* Source: The List (Issue 664)
* Date: 9 August 2010
* Written by: Brian Donaldson

Richard Herring - Christ on a Bike
A disappointing retread of past glories

With last year’s show, Hitler Moustache, Richard Herring created a genuinely moving and highly provocative tract about racism, identity and the power of iconography. On the back of an unseemly pre-festival row with The Guardian, he appeared to have his dander up and anger became a fruitful energy for Herring. To bolster the effect of that show, he grew a bona fide toothbrush mouser (as seen in the films of Charlie Chaplin and Leni Riefenstahl) and, apart from the long hair and baggy suit, looked exactly like Adolf Hitler. Or the little tramp, perhaps depending on your particular worldview.

This time around, the hair’s even lanker and, guess what, he looks an awful lot like Jesus of Nazareth. So, there’s a great excuse for him to dip into his own archive and revisit his 2001 Fringe show Christ on a Bike. For Herring, this was a significant moment as it marked his first major foray onto the solo comedy stage and has ultimately acted as the springboard to the hard-earned reputation he has today, a status which, as he stated last week, has finally landed him a room with chandeliers.

But, for all the splendid punning and cavorting around certain daft passages in the Bible – mainly the tedious opening page which would have had publishers demanding a rewrite and the often overlooked bizarre nature of The Ten Commandments – this feels like a stepping stone towards another bigger and better work. For this fan, the saddest indictment of a disappointing show is that the greatest excitement of the evening arrived on flicking through Herring’s by-now annual and very generous programme and seeing a full-page ad for the October DVD release of Hitler’s Moustache.

Assembly Rooms, 623 3030, until 30 Aug, 9.45pm, £9.50–£11 (£8–£8.50).