We join Eric Meat on what is a sad occasion: the day is due to move out of his childhood home. The childless, unmarried protagonist doesn’t know where he will be moving or who the tenants will be. Despite the morose topic, this bittersweet tale of one man’s attempts to do away with all of his memories facilitates some of the funniest moments of audience interaction you’re likely to see this August.
Brice is in total control.
After the opening formalities, where Mr Meat introduces himself and welcomes us to his home, we are told that these are his final few hours in the house. As a result of his crippling solitude, what he wants to do, rather than spend his time reminiscing about the place, is rid himself of the memory of any and all positive past experiences. In these opening minutes the piece is straightforward character comedy, with Northerner Mr Meat playing with familiar tropes of loneliness (the doorbell that never rings becoming the doorbell that rings too much) to great comic effect.
His recollection of a former lover’s attempt to teach him how to correctly de-seed a pepper forces Mr Meat to come up with a novel solution to mask his tears. This prompts the first of many instances of audience participation, with Tom from Stoke (who deserves a medal for what he went through in the name of comedy) selected to participate in a contest involving a cut onion and the Countdown theme-tune. Like the best audience participations, we are laughing not only at poor Tom’s predicament or the comic quality of the skit itself, but out of a sense of relief that we have avoided the ignominy of Mr Meat’s focus.
Again and again spectators are chosen to participate in the increasingly farcical set-pieces as we travel through time and space to experience some of Mr Meat’s memories. Routines involving Francine the shoe shop owner, the cupping ceremony, and Mr Meat’s recipe for wetty bread derive their comic power from audience participation and are uniformly hilarious. In whatever guise he adopts, Brice is in total control, never directly mocking those he selects to help but also never willing to tolerate audience-members attempts to upstage him – Brice is not averse to handing out the odd snide put-down when the situation commands it.
If a combination of The Mighty Boosh and Reeves & Mortimer, with a bit of Pheonix Nights thrown in sounds like it might be up your street then this is definitely the show for you.