Venue magazine review of WILA

Home Performance&Comedy Bristol Brouhaha: Richard Herring / Chris McCausland
Bristol Brouhaha: Richard Herring / Chris McCausland

Tobacco Factory Theatre, Bristol (Wed 20 July)

COMEDY Chris McCauslandÂ’s approach to comedy is refreshing, in that he opts for quiet self-effacement with a twist of cheek rather than the all-out bouncing about the stage or the half-grumbling/half-ranting at the audience favoured by other comedians of his generation. The resulting act has a distinct flavour of those slightly surreal late-night talks you end up having when youÂ’ve somehow managed to drink yourself to sobriety. From the vagaries of quantum physics as it applies to a studio flat, to the average number of shoes you can expect to find in the box when you shop online, McCauslandÂ’s comedy leaves no stone unturned in the absurd landscape of the Everyday. TonightÂ’s performance (like all this weekÂ’s Brouhaha shows, itÂ’s an Edinburgh Fringe preview) has a somewhat chaotic feel to it: there doesnÂ’t seem to be a clear path drawn through the material, neither do the meandering lines of thought eventually gather into any concluding observation. However, this is to be expected from a Fringe preview (McCausland himself is ready to admit the currently half-baked nature of the show), and it doesnÂ’t really detract from a fun performance dotted with moments of comedic brilliance. McCauslandÂ’s incisive humour and his disarmingly unaffected stage-presence make him a joy to watch.

Having delighted some and enraged others with his observations on politics and religion during previous tours, Richard Herring turns tonight to a subject of equal magnitude and comic potential. ‘What Is Love, Anyway?’, Herring’s new show, explores the vicissitudes of love in every stage of life. From infancy to old age, from loving your children to loving your drycleaners, Herring takes up wit and style to arm himself, and attacks his elusive subject with the alacrity of Don Quixote amongst the windmills.

With a booming voice and commanding stage presence, Herring delivers a show full of energy occasionally bordering on frenzy. His observations are for the most part hilarious, sometimes acerbic, and always have at their heart a passionate humanity and a genuine concern with figuring out his subject matter. And a word of warning – you will never look at Ferrero Rocher with the same eyes again.

Two fine comedians on a thoroughly entertaining preview evening.

Copyright Regina Papachlimitzou 2011