Review: Richard Herring: Christ on a Bike – Bradford Alhambra Studio, 10/03/2011
When? Thursday 10th March
Where? Bradford Alhambra Studio
Who? Richard Herring
I didn’t see ‘Christ on a Bike’, Richard Herring’s intelligently argued cross-examination of his own belief system in it’s original 2001 outing; in fact I’d almost completely forgotten about the former Fist of Fun, Festival of Fun and This Morning with Richard Not Judy comic’s existence since his disappearance from television, and separation from long-time collaborator Stewart Lee.
But in the main, what a delight his act – currently touring the UK – proved to be; Herring gives us compelling and reasoned arguments against the destructive forces of religion. Much like Mel Brooks, Herring realises the most attractive way to convey utter contempt is through ridiculing idiocy where he finds it. He makes his arguments amusingly and succinctly when on-script, but falls into diatribe when tempted to ad-lib. Herring’s strength is clearly as a writer and his wordsmithery is a joy. As for performance, Herring is certainly a strange case in the sense he certainly shows a lot of himself in his comic persona. Herring clearly has a rather spiky side, which his cheeky grin and hangdog demeanour doesn’t always disguise. Two guests of the near-full Studio who dared to use the facilities mid-act were caressed verbally in a particularly direct manner by Herring, a polar opposite to his word-perfect and witty script work.
One particular lowpoint was the condemnation – with no trace of irony – of another stand up (a ‘bitch fest’ is actually a better term, when I think about it) for the constant use of catchphrases and one-liners. I remember seeing Lee & Herring on tour many years ago, where the audience did nothing but shout out catchphrases, while a man dressed as an orange got a round of applause.
Herring makes as good an argument for atheism as any when on his ‘A Game’; but if you have no interest in religion whatsoever you are still guaranteed many, many laughs.
- Harry Zing