David Reed: Shamblehouse

This article is from 2011

David Reed

Penny Dreadfuls' David Reed brings solo show to Edinburgh Fringe 2011

‘It’s not the best PR being called “the middle one”, is it? “The most castable one”? “The handsome one”, would you say? “The funny one” would be good, wouldn’t it?’ David Reed is giving his profile some thought. The Yorkshireman seems to have cynically calculated the lure of calling a show Shamblehouse, because ‘after the name Dreadfuls sunk everyone’s expectations to rock bottom, we could dazzle them with our mediocrity. If I’ve pulled it off again, that’s a bonus.’

In reality, Reed wants the title to embody many things without actually saying a great deal. ‘It’s a mish-mosh of characters, short stories and me messing about. This is where you can come to see a shambles rather than “The Most Amazing Show on Earth, on Ice!” Though I haven’t finished writing it yet, so the Pleasance may yet have to freeze the venue each night.’

Those characters include a Spaniard who’s dead (‘that’s his overriding personality trait’); a Doctor Watson-esque figure (‘who has almost no short or long-term memory’), an ‘incredibly sweet but phenomenally nerdy young boy’ who loves Vikings; and ‘a closet heterosexual called Alan Water’. Delivered from the interfering counsel of a sketch trio, Reed is now ‘fulfilling my life-long dream of doing all my accents. They can’t stop me. I’m looking forward to the luxurious, frightening possibility of developing characters further, because you can create something a bit weirder and more wonderful in a solo show.’

Along with his girlfriend, fellow comic and bass player Danielle Ward, Reed is returning to Edinburgh with his drum kit as the ‘rhythm section’ of the joyously fun Karaoke Circus. ‘We actually met at the first Circus,’ he explains, ‘so it’s kind of like our baby with this weird surrogate figure of Martin White. He’s been there the whole time, like some sort of creepy uncle.’

The couple are currently adapting Gutted, Ward and White’s musical from last year’s Fringe, into a screenplay ‘to see if we can get a low-budget film made, the new Rocky Horror.’ And he’s anticipating reuniting with Humphrey Ker if BBC Two recommissions improv show Fast and Loose, all of the Dreadfuls having begun their comedy careers while at Edinburgh University as part of The Improverts troupe.

When lightly nudged, Reed is fairly sure that audiences should opt for his show before Ker's or Tuck’s, ‘because I’ve been dragging their sorry arses for years and it’s time the glory went to the one truly deserving of it. Put it this way, if you don’t like straight-to-DVD Disney sequels and you’re not obsessed with Hitler, this is the show for you.’

David Reed: Shamblehouse, Pleasance Courtyard, Pleasance, 0131 556 6550, 6–29 Aug (not 16), 8.30pm, £10–£12 (£8.50–£10.50). Previews 3–5 Aug, £5.

David Reed: Shamblehouse

  • 3 stars

David Reed's anticipated solo debut… a one-man sketch comedy show of new characters and stories. One-third of Fringe favourites The Penny Dreadfuls (BBC2, BBC Radio 4). ★★★★ (List), ★★★★ (Metro), ★★★★ (Scotsman). As seen on BBC2's Fast and Loose and playing Peter Cook on Frankie Howerd's Rather You Than Me'.

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