Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Christ On A Bike

2010 was a good year for Richard Herring. A successful tour of "Hitler Moustache", with a DVD in the shops, a run of 10 live Collings & Herrin podcasts at Edinburgh Festival, the release of his book "How Not To Grow Up" as well as continuing with the As It Occurs To Me (AIOTM) podcasts and becoming a regular on 6 Music every Saturday morning with Andrew Collins. To cap it all , his almost record breaking score in Celebrity Mastermind. What will 2011 bring?

Well it's bringing us "Christ On A Bike - The Second Coming" which is currently running for 5 weeks at The Leicester Square Theatre before Rich takes it round the country till the middle of May.

COAB is a reworking of a show he did 10 years ago which features Herring's fascination with Jesus, although he is a confirmed atheist. I don't know how much has changed since then but it's a good opportunity for Herring to get the show on to DVD at last!

Rich has possibly booked the worst time of year to start a 5 week run in the West End. Christmas week, although good for Jesus, isn't so great for audiences, and the first week in January isn't ideal either as we've all spent our money. However I was hoping to go with a couple of mates tonight who ended up not being able to make it, so I went to the theatre by myself and just paid on the door.It also doesn't help sharing a week of the run with Stewart Lee, who I will be seeing on Wednesday. If Lee & Herring fans are going to go to one of the shows, then for Lee would be the obvious choice (with him being on telly and all that..), but I urge you to think again (You've had weeks to see Stew!)

Rich has mentioned on his blog that the audiences are not as large as he had hoped and this was confirmed tonight. There were 60 people in, and although that's a fine audience for a small comedy club, it's not ideal when in a 400 seat theatre.

The show started and Rich certainly didn't show any lack of confidence but did state at the start that sometimes when a show goes really well he would love to thank every member of the audience personally, and that tonight he probably could! The audience, to me, seemed rather quiet, although everyone did seem to be enjoying themselves. I imagine that some people, in a small audience in a big room may feel too self-conscious to let themselves go.

Rich On A Bike
The show is not as serious or hard hitting as Hitler Moustache, but the poster and the title would lead you to expect an offensive anti-religious rant, however this isn't the case. COAB is a light hearted and playful look at the Bible as well as comparisons between Jesus and Richard: "I'm not saying I'm the new Jesus. That is for other people to say". God's clumsy writing technique is criticised in a passage about the 10 Commandments, and Richard reads out his genuine application to become Pope (addressed to The Popefinder General, Vatican City). It hinges around a dream where Herring has a Tortoise and Hare style bicycle race with Jesus (I won't give any spoilers as to who wins but I'm sure you can guess.

A tape of his mum's voice echoes round the theatre "If you don't believe in Jesus then why do you spend all your time thinking and talking about him?" Just the thought of Rich asking his mum to record these words is extremely funny in itself!

After the break, Rich launched into his extremely impressive and hilarious genealogy of Jesus, all from memory, along the way asking searching questions about some "Boaz of Rahab" and others. He lets us into the trick of how he memorised these 40 or so generations and the secret is the most unusual noise I've heard coming from anyone on stage. It would make a very confusing ring tone.

The audience had certainly perked up by this point and seemed to be committed to a great night out. The show came to an end, though I could have happily listened to more. Grudgingly I had even agreed with Brian Logan about one supposedly weak line in the show, however what Logan failed to spot was that "Jesus" told Herring off for it towards the end.

By the time I left I had drank maybe one or two drinks more than I should have done and went on some rather lengthy twitter conversations which i was highly embarrassed about the next day, but I guess that's what happens when you go out in the afternoon then decide to go the the west end on the spur of the moment to see a show.

Christ On A Bike is a great night out. You could even bring your granny or your vicar. Londoners, get your tickets before he hits the road and come to The Leicester Square Theatre before the 22nd January or if you're one of those provincial types, check Herring's gig guide for details of venues. I don't give 'stars' and stuff in my little write ups, but if i did I would give the full amount of them (minus one as I don't like comedians to be too cocky!)

See you on Wednesday for Stewart Lee! Why not see Herring beforehand at the same venue and make it a Fist Of Fun special!

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