John-Luke Roberts Distracts You From A Murder

I’m sitting there, innocently enjoying the show, when John-Luke Roberts points at me and declares that no-one really likes having conversations with me, they only do it so they can perfect their impressions of me. Normally I’d be offended by such unprovoked abuse, but I know it’s not personal – he’s insulting the whole audience one by one, with taunts read off index cards. This contrived audience repartee is just one of the ways that Roberts deconstructs the conventions of stand-up comedy – another is letting us know about his favourite punch-lines so we can look out for them later in the show. Despite this toying with our expectations, and the unconventional packaging of the performance as a water-tight alibi rather than an hour’s entertainment, the substance of the piece isn’t actually wildly different to the average stand-up routine, comprising one-liners, whimsical observations, and character comedy. But this is no bad thing when every perfectedly-pitched one-liner provokes a belly-laugh, the delightfully original observations concern starfish and werewolves rather than the differences between men and women, and the character comedy includes such highlights as Judge Sexy and the Bigoted Contortionist (who are much, much funnier than the unpromising names might suggest.) And, of course, the blood-curdling screams coming from offstage add a certain unique quality to the show. Like many of his comedy peers, Roberts makes clever use of technology, throwing in an entertaining Powerpoint slide here, a brilliant public service film there, and some pretty impressive disco dancing on top of that.This show was presented by Invisible Dot Productions, an emerging comedy collective who clearly have a knack for cultivating comedic talent – last year they were responsible for bringing Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Tim Key and Best Newcomer Jonny Sweet to the Fringe, and they may well be onto another winner with John-Luke Roberts. This is a brilliant show - original, unpredictable, and hugely entertaining. Then again, I could just be saying that because I was hypnotised to think so, so you should probably see it yourself to make sure.

The Blurb

John-Luke Roberts performs esoteric, whimsical comedy to distract you from the brutal, sickening murder he will be committing during the show. 'Brimming with comic ingenuity' (Scotsman). **** (List) **** (Metro).