Come Heckle Christ (3 stars)

This article is from 2014


Josh Ladgrove's Edinburgh Festival Fringe comedy show is entirely dependent on audience interaction

You get no prizes for guessing that Come Heckle Christ is a show dependent on the quality of its audience. Character comedian Josh Ladgrove props himself on the cross for (almost) the entire duration, responding to a mix of insults, theological queries and increasingly loaded political questions (when asked about the identity of the Antichrist, the Aussie performer doesn’t hesitate: ‘Tony Abbott’).

For the more predictable heckles, he has a few prop-based retorts prepared; there’s also an emergency contingency plan should things go silent. Those safeguards aside, though, the audience is responsible for the quality of material. Ladgrove’s responses are amusing enough (his refusal to stay in character generates some laughs), but he only really shines when someone in the audience shines first.

Fortunately, with a title like Come Heckle Christ, that special someone is likely to be a professional comedian looking to do unto others. On the night of this review, it’s Jess Thom, a comic with both Tourette’s and a quick-fire absurdist wit; the night before, it was Stewart Lee (with whom, Ladgrove tells us, he had less fun). If you’re going to take a gamble on an audience-generated show, a Fringe audience is probably your safest bet.

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 24 Aug (not 18), 10.20pm, £7.50–£9.50 (£6.50–£8).

Come Heckle Christ

  • 3 stars

Lee Martin for Gag Reflex Sold out: Melbourne Fringe, Adelaide Fringe, Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2014. Winner Best Comedy Melbourne Fringe 2012. Ever wanted to heckle Jesus Christ? Maybe just ask him a little question? Well now's your chance. Award-winning Australian Josh Ladgrove brings his must-see…