Review by Carmel Shortall
Yay! Stand-Up Comics is back. I missed it during the Camden Fringe due to the riots but now it’s back in an extended version – this time at The Etcetera Theatre.
Liam works for Kris in his comic shop and they also try to create their own comics together or they did until Liam got “page fright” – writer’s block as it’s more commonly known – and found another artist to work with: pixie-winged Ashlynn, his dream woman.
Their friend Liz arrives after losing yet another of her preposterous jobs and the three of them continue to bicker while they see off stroppy customers, their friendly local gravedigger and delivery man and, finally, Ashlynn herself. Liam occasionally takes time to ponder on the meaning of life, the nature of comics, and to wonder if there is a superhero laundry or if Superman has to wash his tights in the sink: “who washes the space-gunk out of Green Lantern’s Spandex?”
Inevitably, somewhat begrudgingly, they realise that they need each other before heading off to the pub.
Stand-Up Comics is crammed with gags, in-jokes, smart one-liners and comic book references but you don’t need to know anything about comics to enjoy it. There are some moments of brilliance – Liz and Liam having a mock comic book fight as they argue with each other; the idea of the shop having survived a hipster infestation and Kris’s description of having Liz around as “like being trapped in Arkham with a bat villain”
Larissa Kunstel-Tabet’s economical set design conveys the ambience of a comic shop with a few boxes of comics, a couple of printed boards and a prominently placed notice suggesting that customers wash their hands before handling the batman comics.
The cast are excellent; particularly writer/director Michael Eckett who plays Liam and Sandy Jarvis who plays the ditsy and irrepressibly perky Liz, gazing fondly at her toes because she thinks her nail polish attracts bees.
Stand-Up Comics was developed from a series of video shorts by The Sigil Club Company and it would be great to see the whole thing online now – come on, guys! Until then you can see it at The Etcetera Theatre, 265 Camden High Street above The Oxford Arms pub, until Sunday 27th November at 7:30pm every night except Sunday when it starts at 6:30pm. Tickets are a mere £7.50.