ComedyPulse FestivalReviewSouth EastSpoken Word

PULSE FESTIVAL: The Duke – High Street Exhibition Gallery, Ipswich

Writer, Director and Performer: Shôn Dale-Jones
Reviewer: Glen Pearce


There’s always a bit of a grey area in Shôn Dale-Jones shows. Is it Dale-Jones or his alter ego Hugh Hughes performing. Here it’s Dale-Jones himself credited but as he points out in the opening minutes the names of real people are interchangeable.

Like much of Dale-Jones/Hughes previous work, The Duke is a meandering, loosely woven stream of consciousness, here weaving together a tale of writing a film script while attempting to replace a potentially valuable broken porcelain ornament for his mother.

Dale-Jones clearly revels in storytelling, and it is a gentle, if strangely off the wall, tale he tells here. The problem is that it is just too gentle. Sat behind a table, operating his own sound effects (complete with more than a couple of slip ups) from his laptop there’s a lacking of any sense of the theatrical. The spark of inventiveness evident in earlier works is lacking and, despite the piece having been on the road for some time, the piece still seems too rough around the edges.

There’s are moments to enjoy and plenty of laughs along the way but they are too widely scattered and as a cohesive whole, it never pulls together. It frequently verges on the self-indulgent and the ending, while charitable, looking at the plight of child refugees totally at odds with the previous fifty-five minutes. Dale-Jones is a talented performer but The Duke is somewhat of a misfire.

Reviewed on 9 June 2017 | Image: Contributed  |  @pulseipswich #pulse17

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