Writer and performer: Russell Layton
Director: Simon Hudson
Reviewer: James Napleton
In 1987 the BBC weather program broadcast that there was a meteorological disaster heading this way, it was called Hurricane Michael… Phish.
A blur of punning, wordplay and parody Hurricane Michael is a frenzied one-man comedy that follows this meteorological maverick through his greatest achievements and biggest disaster.
Michael Phish, the comic hero of this performance, is named after the BBC weatherman who famously and erroneously corrected a member of the public who had rang in because she heard that a hurricane was headed for England on the morning of the Great Storm of 1987. This show investigates the true reason behind his dismissive words ‘don’t worry, there isn’t!’
The strongest feature of the show is the characterization of Michael Phish, with a mixture of wit and buffoonery he is a thoroughly British caricature. Michael’s dialogue is thick with one-liners, turns of phrase and 80s references. But the fun of Michael Phish does not just emanate from his levity as he works his audience and remains in constant interaction with them throughout the performance. Often this show becomes more like a stand-up comedy show lead by a fictional character, which actor Russell Layton plays with well using ironic asides.
This is a slick and professional show. The performance by Layton is particularly remarkable, his performance as Phish dominates the space and showcases strong improvisational skills to interact with the audience. The comic script is so discursive that the play meanders and constantly runs off course from the narrative, but this is all part of the fun. What holds all of this together is his assured performance as Phish who conducts the mayhem.
Runs 18-21 May and 3-4 June at The Warren Studio 3
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