Verb Garden: The Decent Chat Show

The premise behind the Decent Chat Show is a good one, but unfortunately what I experienced didn’t even come close. In fact, having entered to see three pull-out chairs and an unfinished stage, we were somewhat predictably informed that the host was absent due to ‘traffic problems’ (she actually gestured with air-quotes). In his place, we had a stand-in comedian who was presumably hanging around and didn’t have anything better to do.

I must admit, though, that she was actually a very good host - especially because by the end of the first twenty minutes only one out of six of the guests had turned up. She had an interesting conversation with the fascinating Norman Lovett, famous for his deadpan manner and appearances in Red Dwarf, sharing stories about their experiences of show-business. Later on the cast of Hindsight popped in and though they were there to plug the play, they were more than happy to discuss their own lives as actors, playwrights, fathers and so on.

In fact, once everyone was there, the chat was both informative and amusing and I was engaged throughout. However, the ‘show’ did not fulfil its own brief to any measure at all. While it was fascinating to hear the story of when Lovett supported the Clash, I felt rather cheated out of the ‘show/interview/debate format’ that I was promised by the event description and nothing that was talked about cut ‘to the heart of what’s happening to our nation, our government, our institutions and our festivals.’

The fact that there was evidently no original design for the show to follow also seems to suggest that things could easily go awry. At no point were we offered a theme to consider, or any structure to follow. If the host had had to contend with just one duff guest, as is so often the case with these things, the whole thing could have easily descended into awkward panic. Pure chance, then, that I witnessed a pretty stimulating chat. But that was it: a chat. If I were you, I wouldn’t leave it to chance.

Reviews by Emma Banks

Almeida Theatre

Game

★★★★
Battersea Arts Centre

The Rove

★★
National Theatre

A Taste of Honey

★★★

The Light Princess

★★★★

Blurred Lines

★★★★★

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 £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

The Blurb

Sponsored by Sunday Herald: the finest chat show at the Fringe chaired by Iain Macwhirter and featuring really good people with something interesting to say. Guests change daily, detailed programme available at www.arfringe.com.

Most Popular See More

Wicked

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Play That Goes Wrong

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £12.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Cinderella The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets