JOHN-LUKE ROBERTS BUILDS A MONSTER
THE RING O’BELLS
This brand-new, still evolving show from John-Luke Roberts takes stand-up to its outer limits. The monster that he builds is a huge ballooning outrage of a man, ridiculous, foul-mouthed, self-lacerating, unpredictable. This is a grotesque who takes no prisoners; he can shout abuse at audience members without its actually being offensive or bullying because it is so ludicrously over-the-top. You may not have considered, for instance, that you could make hilarity out of telling individual audience members how they are going to die. He can. It takes some kind of daring to successfully maintain a character as gross and gargantuan as this, with its surreal commentary on existential dilemmas, and its constant taking apart of jokes to see how they work, or don’t work – which shouldn’t be funny, but is. Roberts has come up with a highly original, explosive style of comedy which is not for the faint-hearted. Guignol doesn’t come grander than this.
John Christopher Wood