The format for this show is very simple. David O’Doherty introduces six guests who each present a lecture on a chosen topic, with twenty slides and only 403 seconds to deliver it. There is a huge ‘403’ projected onto the screen and this gloriously random number which amounts to the equally random six minutes and forty three seconds gives the spectator a pretty good clue as to the random nature of the show.
The structure, with multiple short acts, is a potentially hazardous one as it can feel that no sooner have you warmed to an individual then they have to leave the stage. However, it must be said that whilst the performers did enough to leave you wanting more, they were followed by other performers of equally high calibre to leave the crowd satisfied.
The first guest was Al Murray who discussed the ‘v’ sign and whilst his talk was amusing, in some places it was more factual than funny. Next up was Nick Mohammed as Mr Swallow, a finely crafted comedic character, who gave a rapid pace eclectic set with seemingly no order to a generally very positive reaction. Kumail Nanjiani was next with a lecture on video games which, though it felt geared more to an American audience, did warm up the crowd towards the end of his stint. After him came Sam Simmons who gave a surreal talk on the moon and other things vaguely related which appeared to be intentionally bad material but received a good response due to his delivery. The highlight of the show was Mark Watson whose relaxed but informative comedy suited this format perfectly. He spoke on the oddities of the internet and had the audience in stitches. David O’Doherty is a brilliant host for this event and it would be fair to say that the audience might have preferred an hour from this amiable comic alone.
The show is certainly entertaining but would best suit those who are undecided on a specific show and are keen to see a number of big festival names.