Richard Herring - We're All Going to Die! 5 Stars ***** - One4Review
one4review | On 08, Aug 2013
The problem with Richard Herring is that he always focuses his attention on the little things – politics, religion, love . . . penises. When will he deal with something bigger? Something much more existential? Something that all of us, in our shared human experience, will inevitably have to deal with at some point in our lives?
Well hurrah and huzzah, for this year he’s back with a show that’s all about the cheery old topic of death. His death, our death, hopefully Prince Philip’s death. It’s not the most obvious go-to topic for big laughs, yet in Herring’s capable (and childlike) hands it is dealt with deftly. He moves swiftly back and forth between a number of issues surrounding death, ones which we probably all think about as we lie in bed at night, but which we never really talk about as we’re a little too afraid to admit that one day we’re all going to die. The afterlife, for example – does it even exist? If it does will we get wings? Will we get to choose what age we are? Or are we doomed to an eternity of bumming God because of a subjective ideal hierarchy? As you’d expect the big questions are dealt with in typical Herring style, a delicate dance through the sublime and the ridiculous.
What I appreciate more and more about Herring is that no matter how crude he gets he never underestimates the people he has in front of him. He credits his audience with the intelligence to follow his big ideas, to realise that his targets are never the weak or the grieving. He leads as we follow, questioning the etiquette that surrounds death, the religion that is built up to shelter us from the heartbreak of death and the respect we infer upon the dead simply because they have ceased to be. And then he brings the laughs by spending large sections of time over-analysing nursery rhymes, giving Hamlet a strongly needed dose of reality and warning us about how Steve Bennett from Chortle wishes him dead. It should come as no surprise that after 10 years of consecutive stand-up shows Herring is a master of balance in and delivery of his material.
Once again Herring has produced a show that has heart, optimism and which leaves us all a little better off for having witnessed it. If, as he suggests, laughter is the only power we have over death, then Herring is well-equipped to meet his maker.
Reviewed by Di
Pleasance Courtyard – Pleasance Beyond
20.00 – 21.00