This is Claudia O’Doherty’s last comedy show. She’s about to finally be freed from her contract with Australia’s svengali comedy creators, The Nut House, and she longs to do proper theatre. But she’s scoured her contract and discovered that nowhere does it stipulate this show has to be funny and so she’s going to subject us, we audience schmucks, to an hour of “confronting, upsetting theatre” of the kind usually performed by art school wankers dressed in one colour and usually topped with a stupid hat.
Of course, she’s not really; after five minutes of hilariously awful acting involving a suicidal evil monk, a Victorian washerwoman, a cursed telescope and a New York cop, O’Doherty loses her place and spends the rest of the show filling with one-off set-piece gags and gradually unravelling the story of her time with The Nut House, all the time interspersed with sound effects and video from her play which carries on in the background.
The show is chaotic, slightly uncomfortable and increasingly hysterical as she loses the plot more and more. The Telescope was shortlisted for the Fosters Comedy Award and though it’s not as new and inventive as it could be (we were strongly reminded of Jonny Sweet‘s earnest and bumbling creation) it’s still far more interesting than an hour of pure stand-up.
Claudia O’Doherty: The Telescope is on at Soho Theatre, Dean Street, until 13 October at 9.15pm. Tickets £12.50 / £10. See the Soho Theatre website for more information. We saw this show on a press ticket.