Review: Richard Herring, “What is Love, Anyway?”

Greeted by the free programme as one takes their seat, a swathe of love-tinged songs (from Pulp’s “Something Changed”, to “The Look of Love” by Dusty Springfield) surround the bustling London crowd eagerly awaiting the arrival of the man with a fish-based surname. Filmed for DVD at the Bloomsbury Theatre, the Friday night gathering was composed of numerous couples and groups of weird, geeky-looking men; possibly the group’s whom would gain most from such an inquisitive set. (One in search of agreement; the other just searching for some tips…something Herring actively encourages!) One thing is for sure, an air of love is in the room.

Whether this is the audience’s love for Richard Herring or his love for them, from the complimentary programme (to raise money for SCOPE) one notes the presence of Herring’s love, and soon-to-be wife, Catie Wilkins, a fellow comedian. Her heavy presence in the publication matches the warm glow Herring exudes. How fascinating the topic of “love” must be to Herring, given he is to be married in just 7 days.

But like all good dates, the pinstripe-suited comedian was slightly but fashionably late. Dissecting love is clearly something Herring has done on many a previous occasion, but here in front of his audience he does so with such skill and poise, one sees the true strength of the man as a comedian.

His high energy performance, natural stage presence and quality of material leads the show to a poignant climax, in which amongst the regular laughter, one may well ask: “What is love, anyway?”

Richard Herring opens the show by suggesting he wants to destroy love, but by the end one’s breath is truly taken away. In discussing his love for his Grandmother he matches the poignancy on which only Russell Kane reaches on his most recent DVD. This is comedy, brought into a new epoch, on what seems the constant creative journey of Richard Herring to push his act further, asking more questions, and being ever-more thought-provoking.

Undoubtedly, Richard Herring is funny. Especially when he impersonates Stewart Lee, something the crowd enjoy tremendously. He seemingly dissects the subject of love, only to rebuild it, climaxing into a spectacular finale. His ability to take one topic and expand on it is one of his greatest comedy skills, escaping the cliché-ridden clunky nature of some of the more disjointed acts currently plying a similar trade. Richard Herring’s ability to write two hours of material on this mystical theme that has, does and will affect each of our lives makes Herring one of Britain’s best comedians currently touring today.

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Richard Herring is currently touring: check his website and his twitter.

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