Matthew Highton's I, the Universe
A tepid affair about the expanse of outer space delivered in a largely empty room
Others have tried and failed before to do that highly ambitious yet lo-fi pseudo-surrealist Mighty Boosh thing on stage. If we're being totally honest, Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding themselves have struggled to pull it off in their last couple of live forays. So, when Matthew Highton shambles on stage dressed as the universe and attempting some off-kilter banter, you fear the worst. Those fears are well and truly realised over the course of an interminable hour.
The first walk-out arrived on the seven-minute mark (a very prescient move there) as Highton limped through his tale of two string puppets, Claude and Maria, trying to find love across the vast expanse of space. Perhaps sensing that all this amounts to almost zero, he delivers these unfolding events in the manner of an over-tired dad telling a bedtime story to a child who couldn't care less (or might already be asleep).
After a feckless attempt at improv via a Q&A in which the crowd seek wisdom from The Universe, it all peters out to a crumbling finale. Hoping that no one will blame the show's failings on his temporary tech (the perfectly fine comic Eric Lampaert whose interjections from the back of the room actually add a little humour to proceedings), Highton might want to look much closer to home if he seeks improvement.
Heroes at the Hive, until 28 Aug, 2pm, £5 or Pay What You Want.