It can be annoying when someone points out that being schizophrenic has nothing to do with split personalities, but they would be right. So in case you’re a psychiatrist and confused by the title of this show and you’re expecting to see something about hearing voices, this character-based comedy is, in fact, about split personalities. Just so you know.
McCabe is a talented performer, adept with accents and mannerisms. He seems like the kind of actor uncomfortable in his own skin, someone who must become a character in order to really feel confident around others. The conclusion of the show hints at this aspect of McCabe’s personality and makes for an intelligent way of tying things together.
Troy Hawke, the opening character, is an aristocrat working at Wilko. Hawke is probably McCabe’s most fleshed-out and observed incarnation; there is some intelligent and effective satire in his use of incongruous social stereotypes. As the show progresses the characters seem to lose this satirical edge and become more bizarre – but no less entertaining.
The use of prepared video throughout the show, in which McCabe talks to and introduces characters between costume changes, is sometimes effective; however, often these things are more distracting than an essential part of the act.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of this show is McCabe’s ability to improvise. Whilst in character he engages with the audience with impressive tit-for-tat repartee. In these exchanges there are interesting glimpses of where he ends and his characters begin, and in this hinterland are the most exciting moments of the show.
McCabe thinks differently to most people. He has an unusual imagination, seemingly wired to create and unite idiosyncrasies in order to form characters of real comic integrity. Lots of acts do this sort of thing, but most do so without his gifts as a performer, and very few will match up in terms of originality and invention. This is the voice in your head saying: definitely worth a watch.