David Reed: Shamblehouse
Great lines but lots of filler
This article is from 2011.
Luckless losers have great comic potential. From Brent to Fawlty, classic comedy is littered with the hubris of idiots. Branching out from Fringe stalwarts The Penny Dreadfuls, David Reed welcomes a collection of ‘tragic, lonely characters’ into his Shamblehouse.
Opening strongly with his one recurring character, Reed’s surreal musings mutate through several guises, including a man haunted by his ability to impersonate Morgan Freeman, and Dresden the South African, whose great innovations include the decaffeinated apple. His strongest sketch features Milo the doughnut and his attempts to fly, a sublimely ridiculous concept embellished with a mini superhero costume, rousing score and wonderfully predictable outcome.
There are some great lines scattered throughout and Reed is well-equipped to go off-script if suitably distracted, but there’s not too much to distinguish the characters beyond the way they speak. Whether it’s a shopkeeper cajoled into performing taxidermy or a qualified doctor selling sponges door-to-door, Reed’s ramblings are rather interchangeable. Although his script is sporadically hilarious, there’s a lot of filler between gags, and what would work brilliantly in a tighter show here feels a little stretched.
Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 28 Aug (not 16), 8.30pm, £10–£12 (£8.50–£10.50).