This is a comedy gig where you spend the whole thing with your back to the person you’ve paid to see. Instead, you get Simon Munnery’s face looming large – simply enormous, in close-up, harshly lit, filling a full projector screen, at one point wearing a chihuahua mask that will replace RE A Level coursework as our anxiety dream of choice for some time – as he sits at the back of the room and performs his show at you.
It works. It works partly because Munnery’s dry, surreal witticisms have always been accompanied by a raised eyebrow or pursed lip; now, amplified beyond the point of exaggeration, it’s hilarious. It also works partly because it’s just a bit nuts. The screen switches between Munnery and cardboard animations that he’s drawn, sometimes illustrating sharp one-line gags, sometimes fleshing out sketch ideas, like proving that dogs make terrible detectives and surgeons, or adding a new dimension to the song about airships that formed the backbone of his last show, Hats Off to the 101ers.
This isn’t the first time Munnery’s mucked about with a camera. His League Against Tedium character used to strap one to the end of a sword and use the result as a backdrop. Now he seems to be using it to evolve new material (this isn’t quite the same show that ran in Edinburgh last summer). Shorn of his Alan Parker: Urban Warrior or League Against Tedium personas and onstage as himself, Simon Munnery has sometimes felt a bit awkward, a bit scattergun. But sat in front of that camera he seems more confident. This might not be the future of comedy, but it might be the future of Munnery.
Simon Munnery: Fylm-Makker is on at Leicester Square Theatre until Saturday 2 March, 7.15pm except Sunday 24 February at 5pm. Tickets £12.50 / £10. We saw this show on a press ticket.