Henry Paker: Guilty
Plot and character work well in this mystery narrative which just lacks the gags
This article is from 2016.
Battling slightly with a meagre attendance, Henry Paker once again has a terrific show on his hands, but on this occasion it never quite takes off. Walking on to Bernard Herrmann's nerve-shredding theme to Vertigo, it's clear that we're about to be plunged into a world of mystery and intrigue. Soon enough the plot of a life coach found dead unravels before tangling itself up ahead of the satisfying conclusion.
Sipping from a variety of heartburn-easing bottles (though the exact contents he's swilling can't be fully confirmed), Paker walks us through his tale as he adopts the noirish role of freelance private investigator. As he wistfully notes, we should all be on board with this idea, given the numbers of people who played that part while binge-watching Making a Murderer. Having met up with some of those suspected of foul play, things merely get stranger before justice can prevail.
The story itself is fun enough, but the real pleasure to Guilty is coming in from the edges with the sub-plots of Paker's life as an illustrator being wonderfully realised before us on screen, while he has a series of strained phone conversations with a publisher about the commercial direction of his next children's book. Unusually for Paker, there's a curious lack of consistently flowing gags which might be the ultimate undoing of this otherwise enjoyable hour.
Assembly George Square Theatre, until 28 Aug, 8.20pm, £10–£11 (£8–£9).