Richard Gadd stunned the lucky few who could get into his constantly packed free show at the Edinburgh Fringe this year. He’s now taking that multiple five star show to London to both Soho Theatre and Invisible Dot. London should be excited. And a little bit scared. Tim Lewis explains why.
Richard Gadd is a sicko. He has created some of the most depraved, filthy and occasionally terrifying shows to feature at the Edinburgh Festival. Last year’s Breaking Gadd was a show based around him getting assaulted in the street, while his debut show Cheese and Crackwhores featured a humiliating break up and psychotic therapist.
Gadd is now in London with his third solo show, Waiting For Gaddot, which was a huge hit at this year’s Edinburgh Festival and is unquestionably his best work. Annoyingly, its going to be hard to talk about anything in real detail for fear of ruining the many, many twists and shocks.
Waiting for Gaddot is Gadd’s “dead dad” show except, it absolutely isn’t. It rips apart the conventions of the traditional one man show with Gadd’s unique take on many of the tropes of the “emotional comedy show”, the fourth wall is demolished the second that the show begins. Interestingly enough, this is probably his most bizarre show yet but also his most accessible show.
Gadd has very slightly softened up (which isn’t saying much; this won’t be on at the Apollo any time soon) and as a result, the show is much funnier for it. As excellent as his previous two shows were, at times, the relentlessness misery could get too much for the audience. The pre-filmed sections of the show is a type of comedy that could translate to a hit BBC sitcom; this is something we have never seen from Gadd before.
Speaking of the pre-filmed sections (featuring the most unusual cameo from a 90s British sitcom star I will see see), the use of technology in this multimedia show is extraordinary. Dreamlike short films and scratchy FaceTime footage all help to build up to an amazing climax.
One thing that must be mentioned about the show is Gadd’s excellent supporting cast, comprising Ed Aczel, Ian Smith and stand out performer, Ben Target (whose other Fringe work included Adam Riches’ show AND his own solo show). They all add to the surreal nature of the performance, never knowing if you can trust the person sat next to you.
When I went to see the show during the Fringe, I had queued for virtually an hour and I only just got in to the seedy, dungeon–like venue. This was genuinely one of the shows that every one was talking about, with many publications going as far to call it “the cult hit of the Fringe”. I’d be inclined to agree with them. The second you step into the venue, you are immersed in the show, you may not realise it yet but there’s so much more going on around you than just on stage. I saw very few shows at the Fringe that were as exciting as Waiting for Gaddot so if you can get a ticket for this twisted, exhilarating and most of all, hilarious show, you really must.
Richard Gadd starts his run of Waiting for Gaddot at the Soho Theatre from Tuesday 27th October until Saturday 7th November
He then returns to perform it in King’s Cross’s The Invisible Dot from Wednesday 25th November to Saturday 28th November