Writer: Richard Herring
Reviewer: Anna Ambelez
Herring enjoys tackling taboo subjects like racism, Hitler and the male genitalia; and this show is no exception. Death is perhaps the biggest taboo of all. Herring, in character, begins his show like a steam train, relentless, leaving no space for breath. Over five minutes at the beginning of the second half is taken up with him promoting his merchandise on sale at the end of the evening; perhaps unnecessarily as the near full appreciative house was obviously already avid fans.
The pace quickens in the second half and involves a witty piece centred on Hamlet’s soliloquy, “to be or be or not to be, that is the question” – “To be, that is the answer!” He devotes a lengthy time to the recent death of his 103 year old grandmother, which is amusing, clever and sensitively handled. Sometimes fact is stranger than fiction, and the magazine Railways and The Holocaust which he found at Glasgow airport is a good example. Difficult to invent such a title, Herring makes good use of this material.
Although a comedy show, there is an underlying assumption in the first half that religion, and faith therein is based on lies, a difficult pill for some to swallow. This is Herring’s tenth stand up show in ten consecutive years; he has appeared in thirty six Fringe shows and among other things writes a weekly column in the Metro newspaper. In life he never appears to stop for breath, which is echoed in the pace of his show.
Taboo subjects are Herrings forte but We’re All Going To Die is not one of his best. He says himself it is not easy to write and this show feels strained, actually incorporating some material from Talking Cock. A lot of research goes into Herrings work and some of the facts in the free programme are more amusing than some of the show. He says “writing’s like being bitten in the privates by a giant radioactive rodent”, but this show does not have his usual bite. He always incorporates a message in his work, a personal comment and if nothing else the show is worth seeing for his message. In We’re All Going To Die he enforces the fact life is for living, “live your life like you only have three months to live, because one day you will – the rest is silence!” Blackout.
Reviewed on: Tuesday 1st April.