Wednesday, 19 December 2012
9 Lessons and Carols for Godless People 2012
I went with Lawrence T and his friends to 9 Lessons and Carols for Godless People last night at the Bloomsbury Theatre not quite aware of what I was letting myself in for. Robin Ince compered the event with the energy and passion of a rational David Icke, a non-stop stream of performers stretching the show to over 3 hours.
The show opened with the house band playing some funk-tronica, the brass instruments accompanying the ethereal sounds from the laser-harp swaddled in theatrical dry-ice. After this strong start, the first half was, frankly, a little baffling. There were many many person-with-a-guitar acts and a weird character piece which imagined the film Brief Encounter set in the present day which, having never watched, Brief Encounter, was utterly impenetrable Josie Long saved the first half with her excellent stand-up routine, especially the part where she said Jay-Z lyrics in the style of a 1930's Film Noir detective (I've got 99 problems, but a dame ain't one). Try it!
The second half was considerably stronger, with some brilliant acts. Especially enjoyable was the mental change of gear when Richard Herring did a bit from Talking Cock, waxing phallical, right after a scientist from CERN had been oozing excitement about the consequences of what could turn out to be a Higgs Boson. In an innovative twist on ventriloquism, one performer spoke as a large, projected cartoon of God, complete with cloud and thunderbolts for smiting, which he controlled with an XBOX controller. Those who entered doubting God's power surely left convinced after God smote the band-leader, causing him to spill beer all over his equipment! Mark Thomas ended the evening with his tales of "book heckling", putting sarcastic comments on bits of paper and leaving them in the spine of books in the shop. He told us his technique for replacing the stickers on books with his own (the trick is to "palm" the sticker before you enter the shop to make it less obvious) and gave away some facetious stickers at the end to encourage more people to do the same!
Whilst the show had some excellent moments, the running time of over 3 hours made it gruelling at times, especially when you got a couple of mediocre acts in a row. A good show for those in an exploratory mood, but maybe not for those seeking something with a coherent theme!