The blurb suggests this is a show about nothing, but amidst the surreal humour there is a deeper meaning. The cliché about the tears of a clown rings true with a show that touches on the loneliness of being a comedian and depression, diagnosed in 2011. This might sound heavy going but it's not:
Mace was nominated for the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award in 2015 there is no reason why he won't come into the reckoning with this show.
He reveals a humorous and poignant set-piece with his sad-clown puppet. While this is being acted out on stage, a video shows snapshots of the happier times the pair had together. This highlights the duality of the show really well.
Mace then strips down to his underpants for the next part of the performance, this prompts a member of the audience to call out that they “hadn't paid money to see him undress” It was a reasonably good-natured interruption, so you couldn't call this a heckle, but Mace responds in a way that makes it clear what the performer/audience relationship entails.
The main part of the show is based around a book that Mace found in a charity shop. It's a self-help book for people who suffer with depression, Live Life Sunny Side Up by Jeremy Ville. The author's name and the tone of the book prompt Mace to show off his own version that's the antithesis of this tome. The hand drawn interpretations of Ville's book are spot on. If you hate this type of self-help book it'll make you wish that Mace's version was available after the show. We learn that being part of sketch group is something that Mace has always wanted to do, but when he tried to do so no one turned up for rehearsals. This is quite a revealing and poignant moment. It addresses the loneliness aspect of the show and that of being a comedian. The ridiculous nature of the two characters he depicts, takes us back into the comedic performance instantaneously with proficiency.
Keeping all the elements and themes together is almost a juggling act for Mace, in fact that's the only piece of performance that we don't get. What we get instead is a quiz, ‘The Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Quiz', to determine who the most miserable person is in the audience. Phoebe and Clive battle it out for this honour. This again highlights Mace’s skill for improvisation. This is a tightly packed hour of comedy that could unravel at any moment. It doesn't.
The finale involves more audience participation, involving almost half the audience this time. This element necessitates another costume change. I won't spoil the surprise and reveal what the theme or the costume is. Thematically this set piece tops and tails the surreal elements of the show quite well.
Mace was nominated for the Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award in 2015 there is no reason why he won't come into the reckoning with this show. Looking back on my notes it seems unbelievable how much he crammed into the allotted time and how much that it resonated with those present.