John-Luke Roberts Builds a Monster (4 stars)

Measured madness and brilliant one-liners from our unnerving host

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John-Luke Roberts Builds a Monster

As we take our seats, we become aware of a disturbing figure already on stage. An unstable mess of wig, false beard and ill-fitting suit is regarding us from the corner. It's an unnerving start to a bravura show filled with invention.

Describing himself as 'from the world of nightmares', our host prowls the stage in a fatsuit constructed with balloons, carrying a voodoo doll of 'John-Luke Roberts' and explaining that he's here to cover the comedian's setlist. He begins by 'warming up' the audience, scampering among us and predicting the absurd and painfully convoluted manner in which various members will die.

A show as bafflingly stupid as this should rightly divide an audience down the middle, but through some strange alchemy the crowd absolutely lap it up. Within this orchestrated madness, Roberts drops in some casually brilliant one-liners which are all out of context yet somehow never feel incongruous. And he cleverly extends his best gags into glorious routines with almost every one hitting the mark. Occasionally exploding into a volcanic rage, Roberts is a wonderfully unpredictable stage presence and he's created a consistently hilarious hour of measured madness.

Voodoo Rooms, until 28 Aug (not 17, 24), 6.55pm, free.

John-Luke Roberts Builds a Monster

  • 4 stars

John-Luke Roberts / PBH's Free Fringe A thoughtful idiot builds a monstrous show for your entertainment. A monster in progress from the creator of Stnad-Up and Stdad-Up, co-creator of the Alternative Comedy Memorial Society, and co-writer of Robert Lyndsay and Maureen Lipman’s sitcom Bull. Trained by Philippe Gaulier.

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