Richard Gadd: Breaking Gadd

Richard Gadd is a deeply disturbed young man. Crammed into a pitch black attic space somewhere inThe Counting House, in a room hotter than the sun and barred in by a scummy looking old mattress, we witness a hellish scene that is a multimedia experience - part play, part video, with sketches (although such a word conjures images of quirky "skits" that have no relevance in this dark world) and stand up - visceral, theatrical and very, very funny.

The show is as well structured and meticulously performed as it is surprising.

The show charts the events following Gadd hitting his head and losing his memory. Framed in a psychiatrist's office (shown on a video screen), the show transitions with grace between haunting flashbacks and audience interaction, the acted elements of the show intercut with direct address. Focusing on finding his barely remembered family with only an old photograph for help, the fictionalized Gadd takes us on a brave and utterly ridiculous journey through the dark secrets of his past, from a set of neglectful parents to a less than satisfied girlfriend. The line between horror and comedy comes full circle, leaving you gasp for breath somewhere between gaping in shock and laughing until it hurts.

Gadd goes to the furthest extremes to make his audience laugh - to go into detail here would be to ruin the many twists and turns that the narrative takes over the course of the hour. A sense of disbelief and stunned shock is crucial to the punch behind the show. Let it just be said that it ranges from the moving to the grotesque, and as anyone who saw his show last year will testify, Gadd is peerless in his commitment to the joke no matter what the physical cost. The show is a little less physically violent than it’s predecessor, but as last year’s show contained live flagellation, this isn’t saying much. The show is very similar in style and content; in fact it can be seen as a continuation of the narrative, although you certainly don’t have to be aware of his previous work to enjoy the show.

However, it’s not all about the shock value – the show is as well structured and meticulously performed as it is surprising. Gadd's mind shattering on stage is one of the most truly alive things at the Fringe - manic energy combines with slick, absorbing acting. This complex and electrifying performance isn't for the faint of heart; a lesson in how to write a brilliantly original comedy show.

Reviews by Jane Thompson

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

The troubled comedian Richard Gadd (Laughing Penguin New Act of the Year 2011 winner, Chortle Student Comedy Awards 2011 finalist) returns to the Fringe after the packed out, award-nominated, critically-acclaimed Cheese and Crack Whores from last year. ‘If you like your comedy on edge, you will love this show … genius’ **** (Scotsman). ‘Wonderfully dark and disturbing, brilliant and inventive … makes his audience cry with laughter’ **** (BroadwayBaby.com). ‘Utterly batshit, frequently horrifying, and often ecstatically funny’ ***** (InformedEdinburgh.co.uk). Nominated for Best Festival Show at the Scottish Comedy Awards 2014.

Most Popular See More

Anything Goes

From £42.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mary Poppins

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Wicked

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Mousetrap

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Come From Away

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets