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Comic Herring naughty but nice; COMEDY FESTIVAL Richard Herring/ Unity Theatre, Liverpool.


LAST night was the second time Richard Herring had brought his latest show, Menage a Un, to Liverpool, having previewed it at last year's comedy festival at the Royal Court.

In that time, the subject matter of some of the jokes may have aged, but the mischievous, satirical delivery behind them has not.

Material about mistaken police shootings, Bo Selecta and Maxine Carr ("I read she's getting married. Why am I still on the shelf?") seem ancient.

A reviewer would hesitate to call Herring whimsical - it is almost the word, with the best of his work reminiscent of classic Eddie Izzard, full of gentle asides and perfectly crafted, nonsensical wordplay coming into effect long after a seemingly throwaway comment is forgotten.

Old-school type jokes such as: "Act your age, not your shoe size. Means something different on the continent", and a sweet gag about "to be or not to be" being the only question on a beekeepers' exam come full circle later on to very good effect. Begging the question why doesn't history just make Walter Raleigh and Francis Drake the same person, for want of ease, was also a nice touch.

This charm almost covers his back, but Herring seems intent on pushing his luck and enjoying the shock effect of some of his more explicit material.

He's been touring it for a year, so he knows his territory full well.

The biggest laughs of the night come via a literally near-the-knuckle routine about Jesus and anything touching on sex or racism - it's post-modern, ironic, he argues, and fortunately he has the substance to get away with it where some would say the likes of Jimmy Carr do not.

There are some lulls in the 90-minute set, including a strange meandering section in which he takes on two characters and doesn't seem quite sure himself if it works, although he gets around this with either a good script or cloying self-awareness. But even at his naughtiest and nastiest, it's hard not to like Richard Herring.


Richard Herring
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jun 12, 2007
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