Reviewer: Lucia Cox
The Public Reviews Rating:
Back in 2004 Robin Popper (writer, actor, and producer) under his pseudonym Robin Cooper released his hilarious collection of complaints letters and their respective responses in the form of The Timewaster Letters. In the book, Cooper engages in discourse with everyone from bizarre hobby groups to the Archbishop of Canterbury. His letters are frothy and warm-hearted and poke fun from the position of one who understands the absurdity of life; from someone who’s lived.
Danny Bhoy, fresh from the Edinburgh Fringe, tackles very similar subject matter but this time it’s serious or as serious as Bhoy can imagine.
In a pub one evening with pals, he laments the death of Roast Beef Monster Munch and decides to write a letter of outrage demanding their return. Whilst waiting for a response, the bitterness towards a whole plethora of companies (FIFA, BT, Estate Agents, Gillette and, of course Epsom) their policies and practices and their out-and-out lies grows and so, the letters begin.
The material is good, observational comedy but the problem with observational comedy (‘have you ever noticed), especially nostalgia comedy (‘remember when’) is that it has to be so universal it invariably becomes diluted which, in turn means there’s a distinct danger of becoming mediocre. There’s also a childish sneer underneath the comedy which smacks of a man who hasn’t really grown out of the playground.
Bhoy oozes charm. He’s won over sell-out audiences across the globe and has the awards to prove it. The confident delivery of the material is the successful part of this show. The subject matter, although hilarious in places is, for the most part, pretty forgettable but this is mainly due to its lack of depth rather than quality. As it is, the comedy is unchallenging, safe and ‘Live from the Apollo’ audience – bothering. Nothing wrong with that but it’s been done before.
Perhaps like professional politicians who haven’t really experienced the world for themselves, Bhoy is a man who’s only ever lived on stage. Indeed, his points of personal reference are his school days (he’s 38) and a love affair which, it turns out, was twelve years ago and for only three days.
There’s no doubt Bhoy’s a funny guy, very funny in fact but I’m more excited about the comedy he will write when he’s finally gone out and lived a little.
Reviewed on 9th September 2012