Comedian Dies in the Middle of Joke (3 stars)

This article is from 2012

Comedian Dies in the Middle of Joke

Unusual Fringe play in which the comedian keeps on dying

It’s November 1983 and Britain is in turmoil. Ruled over by the Tories, the country is still reeling from participation in a war that no one can properly justify and the charts are full of bland drivel. Sound familiar? In a dingy London comedy club, the derided Joe ‘Pops’ Pooley is about to die on stage. Literally, like JR, at the end of a bullet.

But this is no ordinary Fringe play, as the roles of the fictional crowd and the comic himself are taken by the actual paying audience in short repetitive bursts as each table moves round to recreate the same scenario over and over again. Joe’s routine is flashed up on an autocue at the back of the room with ‘performers’ being instructed by the play’s writer-facilitator Ross Sutherland not to try and make his material funny.

It’s unclear what the ultimate aim is here: the core idea of a stage death made flesh is hardly original and it seems like a lot of effort to go to in order to show critics that making people laugh is a tough gig.

Pleasance Dome, 556 6550, until 27 Aug, 2.30pm, £9.50 (£8.50).

Comedian Dies in the Middle of Joke

  • 3 stars

November 1983, the closest the world has ever come to nuclear war. Comedian Joe 'Pops' Pooley is headlining his local comedy club and no one's laughing. August 2012: together, his murder is reconstructed. Can you die with some dignity? Devised by award-winning writer and performer Ross Sutherland. 'One of the most…

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