The last time I went to see Richard Herring he was playing Chapter Arts Centre with his show ‘Talking Cock: The Second Coming’. Before that I saw him at St David’s Hall with his show ‘What Is Love Anyway?’ That time he played the large auditorium. This time he was, as he reflected on himself, “back in the bar”. And, in my opinion, a better time was had for it!
‘Lord Of The Dance Settee’ is a show that takes a different form than most of his previous shows; it is, I think, a reflective break from Richard Herring’s wonderful “One Big Topic” shows of recent years. He’s done death, he’s done love, racism and politics, cocks, religion and yoghurt. Rich’s new show is a kind of celebration of all those moments in life that are worth celebrating. I wonder if the onset of fatherhood had a hand in the inward-looking warmth of this new show? That’s not to say the show is any less funny that what’s come before – I laughed like a drain throughout. Because the room was smaller (holding some 300 people, still) and I was sat in the second row, I also felt more included than at any comedy gig I’ve ever been to.
‘Lord Of The Dance Settee’ has a theme, regardless of what the other reviews say, and that theme is – almost obviously – dance. But dance as a metaphor for many other things. Childhood memories, family outings, actual dancing… Herring takes us further into his life than previously and it’s a lovely, funny experience.
At the open of the second half Rich told us that he had spent the interval playing Addams Family Pinball on his computer, that he’d scored a new personal best! I whooped. He turned to me, threatened to make the entire second half an observational stand-up set about the game.
Would I like that, he asked, given that I was the only one in the room who appeared to know what he was talking about? I explained I had no idea what he was on about, I was just being supportive. He threatened to do so anyway. He smiled, I smiled. It was nice. In fact, that’s the thing about this show. For all the humour, belly laughs, profanity and odd side-streets the feeling I carried out above all other is a feeling of niceness. I had had a really, really nice evening with my fiancée at the show. I laughed all the way through the two hour show and got to meet Rich (again) afterwards, he even signed my Lee & Herring cash-in book page, that Stew signed a few weeks ago. Finally, a piece of Lee & Herring memorabilia signed by them both!
Richard Herring has written better shows and I’m sure that on DVD I would opt to watch one of the others over this on a rainy afternoon in. But as live shows go, this was – by far – the best I’ve been to. The atmosphere, the crowd, the room, the comedy… It was a wonderful experience! And that’s why you should always see comedy live.
I adore Richard Herring. He’s wonderful.