Why Even Bother? (4 stars)

This article is from 2018

Why Even Bother?

Comic Joakim Gunby reflects amusingly on the many voices in his head.

Norwegian Joakim Gunby is, to use a phrase beloved by both critics and FBI profilers alike, 'one to be watched.' He's 26, he's blown a lot of money on acting lessons (£56,000 by his estimate), he's having run-ins with the inland revenue in two countries, and he's having fantasies about assassinating political figures. Is it any surprise that Gunby is hearing voices in his head?

Why Even Bother? sounds like a serious one-man show, but it's not; it's a very amiable and funny one. Gunby uses an array of sound-cues to provide a unique stand-up comedy experience; the tone is set early on by a conversation with a jovial passer-by, an exchange Gunby rewinds, then plays through a second time, this time with an interior monologue explaining what he's really thinking.

It's a tricky business, but Gunby pulls it off with great skill. The rest of the show uses further sound-samples to capture conversations with a pornography-obsessed flat-mate, a boring co-worker, an unsuccessful trip to a nightclub, and a disastrous attempt to lull his racing mind into the comforting realm of sleep.

This is a technically dexterous venture that demands a lot of the performer; Gunby even has the perfect ad-lib, questioning 'Has the cable fallen out again?' if a cue doesn't seem to arrive. The sounds clips evoke a comedy style that would have been fashionable before Gunby's parents were born; The Goon Show's exaggerated sound effects and affected voices spring to mind, and that's high praise indeed.

And what really elevates Gunby's show into the first rank is the finale, which strips back the comedy to reveal genuine pathos as Gunby's ex-girlfriend gets in touch. Dropping the mask and slipping effortlessly from comedy to sadness is the mother-lode for any comic, and Gunby completely nails it; a fresh, funny voice, Gunby's show is well worth experiencing considerable bother to see.

Until Aug 27 (not 13), C Royale, 7.55pm, £9.50 to £10.50, (£8.50 to £9.50 concs)

Why Even Bother

  • 4 stars

Joakim Gunby In this dark one-man comedy we get a glimpse into the world of Main Character and the everyday struggle of his normal life. Please hold and someone will be with you shortly. The ever-growing apathy of life can feel crushing. Even the best of us will end up asking 'why even bother?’ when faced with Co-Worker…