The Preacher

One of the strangest Fringe shows of recent memory is A Young Man Dressed as a Gorilla Dressed as an Old Man Sits Rocking in a Rocking Chair for 56 Minutes and Then Leaves – a show that does exactly what it says on the tin. Depending on how you look at it, it's either a fantastic experience or an insufferably boring 56 minutes. The Preacher is somewhere along those lines.

a bizarre 55 minutes

The Preacher is officially described as “a digital theatre performance of the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes framed as a stand-up comedy show”. Even after reading that a few times, I didn’t know what to expect. After watching it, I’m still not sure how I feel about it. I would say the show is comparable to Moses announcing The Ten Commandments in a tight five.

It's worth noting that although this is standup, it’s not a comedy show. If you’re looking for an hour of laughs, you won’t find it here. This is a piece of theatre in which a character, David ‘Dave’ Davidson, performs a show. Much of this ‘show within a show’ isn't particularly funny and wouldn’t go down well in a comedy club. Given it’s literally a retelling of a book in the Bible, I’m not sure it’s supposed to. Some other reviews have judged it as a comedy set, which I don’t think was the intended idea.

It is expertly crafted. Conceived during lockdown in Australia, Anthony Noack's 'set' is his own combination of the King James Bible and “new translations based on contemporary speech”. Noack is no stranger to the comedy industry, having been a producer at the Melbourne Comedy Festival, so he knows his stuff and it shows. The set begins with a few quick gags and broad jokes. It’s charming and innocent, but we’re caught off guard when, in the next breath, he speaks about feelings of “complete and utter hopelessness”, retaining the same boyish charm and cheeky grin. It’s unsettling yet intriguing, reminding me of the lull when the majority of standup comedians decide to get serious. Noack then continues with Ecclesiastes, taking breaks to sip wine, make fart noises, and make a few more general gags.

Judging by Noack’s ‘show within a show’, perhaps comedy isn't his calling. However, it takes great skill to perform in an intentionally amateurish way, so Noack deserves praise for that. I’m somewhat torn about the overall presentation. Noack certainly has a “cool Sunday School teacher” approach, so much so he could probably aim this show at kids as a trendy way to learn about the Bible.

I’m not a religious person, so the material wasn’t up my alley and I couldn’t quite connect with it. Then again, that’s not the point. For a general crowd looking for standup comedy, this is more miss than hit. For those willing to delve deeper into what is trying to be achieved, there is something to like in there.

The Preacher confused me a lot. Like the Gorilla show, it’s a marmite experience. It’s certainly a bizarre 55 minutes, but that’s what Fringe is all about. Did I enjoy it? I still don’t know, but I definitely appreciated what it was trying to accomplish. I am still thinking about it days later, and not a lot of Fringe shows have that effect on me.

Visit Show Website

Reviews by James Macfarlane

Trongate

Krapp’s Last Tape with Go On

★★★★
Monkey Barrel Comedy

Amy Matthews and Krystal Evans (WIP)

★★★★
Fringe Player

The Preacher

★★★
PBH's Free Fringe @ The Street

Laura McMahon, One of the Gals

★★
Gilded Balloon Teviot

Jay Lafferty: Blether

★★★★★

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

Performing remotely to no audience, comedian David 'Dave' Davidson struggles to maintain the momentum in his act. However, with effort and a liberal dose of wine, he takes the audience along on his journey to question a seemingly absurd and unfair world. The Preacher is a digital theatre performance of the Biblical book of Ecclesiastes framed as a stand-up comedy show. It examines how modern performance is similar to ancient preaching and how many of our concerns and worries are constant over time. 'This show is highly recommended' ****½ (TheAdelaideShow.com.au).

Most Popular See More

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £12.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Dear Evan Hansen

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Wicked

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets