Sunday, 8 November 2009

Comedians by Trevor Griffiths

Comedians was written in 1975, but it's a very timely revival, what with the recent Jimmy Carr/Frankie Boyle nonsense.

It's a play that looks at the purpose of comedy and what the things we laugh at say about us. For a comedian, what is the real cost of going for a cheap laugh?

It's brilliantly structured over the course of an evening: firstly, the nightclass where a number of aspriring comedians prepare for their big break - a showcase at a local club attended by a talent scout/agent. Then, the routines themselves, then the post-mortem of how it all went.

There's one pretty compelling reason to see this production, namely the cast, which includes Matthew Kelly, Mark Benton and Reece Shearsmith (ex League of Gentleman, total genius, and disturbingly attractive in full 70s get-up, including greasy moustache. I digress.)

I don't know if Keith Allen is a deeply unpleasant individual or an exceptional actor, but he's certainly very convincing as the arsehole agent.

I was going to have a whinge about how David Dawson hadn't had enough recognition for his frankly amazing performance as Gethin, but then I read the reviews properly and it turns out everyone thought he was great, not just me. So that's alright then.

This is an intelligent, thoughtful production that generates some decent laughs along side some genuinely uncomfortable moments as racist jokes of (hopefully) yesteryear make the audience wince.

After the mystifyingly well-received Punk Rock at the same theatre, this is a play that has something to say, and says it well.

This is the latest in my continuing series of reviews that go up just as shows are about to finish, but if you can get tickets for the last week of the production, it's well worth seeing.

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