John-Luke Roberts: Stdad-Up
A ‘dead dad’ show like no other
This article is from 2015.
According to John-Luke Roberts, when a comedian’s father dies, they just have to do a show about it. The standard format is that you'll talk about your complex relationship and work up to the revelation that, despite your differences, you wish he was still here. There’s nothing standard about Roberts’ format.
In a strong yet surreal start, he waits on the stage inside a jacket, and opens with a hilarious series of teeny finger-puppet faces and model teeth miming along to songs. During this section, he strips off until only a pixelated picture ineffectually hides his modesty. In another elaborate physical routine, he dresses as his dad but after this point, the show starts to falter and he loses the well-crafted atmosphere of expectation. Some, but not all of the insults he delivers from cards are deliciously cutting.
An audience member recruited to help – putting balloons in his trousers, ringing the ‘truth bell’ – is so in sync with Roberts he feels like a plant. It's a genuine shame (as well as a risk) that this role will each night be left to chance. There's some excellent lines and strong delivery but the later parts, perhaps intentionally, feel as though they're still being devised. Roberts himself says to give it a few days.
Voodoo Rooms, 226 0000, until 30 Aug, 6.55pm, free.