Monday, 7 March 2016

    Vaults Festival | I Never Told a Joke in my Life ★★★★

    Toward the end of I Never Told A Joke in my Life (the latest production by Drunk Chorus, showing at The Vaults festival), the sole performer, Chris Williams, is stood with an abundance of half-drank water bottles at his feet. Before he brings the audience into another excruciating journey, through a classic/torturous moment of comedy history (Tommy Coopers death, Anthony Griffith's ten minute monologue on cancer, etc...), he goes under a cloaked table, extracts another water bottle, takes one gulp, and places the bottle at the end of his microphone. 

    So I guess you could say toward the end of I Never Told a Joke in my Life, Williams is stood with an abundance of half finished routines at his feet, an abundance of half finished careers, or an abundance of half finished people. 

    Chris Williams, both performer and artistic director of Drunken Chorus, has a very odd kind of charisma, which I can only really liken to that of Jack Dee; you're watching nothing and everything happen all at once. 

    The show itself is cleverly written and researched, and so obviously comes from a genuine love and fear of the unpredictability of an audience. My only real criticism is if the audience themselves are not so read-up on classic comedic moments, then a few references may fall flat. Their are genuine moments of lighthearted humour, put they're so quickly stolen away from you with reminders of the depression and insecurities that often consume comedians, so the audience never really know where they stand. It's a real, wittily executed, example of pure black humour. 

    But what is really hammered home, is how alone a comedian is. It's a lonely job. Even when Williams pulls up four volunteers onstage (we were amongst them) he rarely interacts, because, true-to-life, they can't do his job. There are very few options, or escape exits, for a comedian; once they're out on that stage all they can do is try and be funny. And hopefully not leave the stage, with a load of unfinished routines in their wake. 


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