“Woah,” you’ll say, as soon as you step foot through the two massive, building-high wooden doors that open out into The Invisible Dot Theatre. “So this is, like, just a garage, right?” It is just a garage. It is just a garage painted white and with a bar inside it and with a right-by-the-stage bathroom that has every conceivable piece of bathroom equipment – like, every conceivable bit of equipment, from padded back-supports to huge claw-like cranes designed to lower you from on high onto a toilet to do your business and then efficiently swing you back out again at an abrupt and sharp angle when you are done – apart from an actual toilet seat. It’s a garage with a complete lack of a toilet seat. That is The Invisible Dot Theatre. Welcome.
Weirdly, though, the setting of a-garage-painted-white-and-with-no-toilet-seats-in-it sort of works for Claudia O’Doherty’s show KEEP READING because the aforementioned massive wooden doors and white-painted bricks do actually create a sort of intimate atmosphere among the about 60 or so assembled people who are drinking wine and watching, which kind of suits O’Doherty down to a tee.
Here’s the main thing about Claudia O’Doherty (beyond ‘she is very funny’, because we are getting there): she completely dominates and dictates the mood of the audience. Not a lot of comedians do that: they sort of pad on-stage and internally think ‘oh, okay, so it’s a bit of a “fart gag” room tonight, okay’ and then taper and tailor their set accordingly, all putting their cupped hands under their hot armpits and attempting that, while O’Doherty sort of wanders onto stage centre, detached and kind of oblivious, and then plays the room on her own terms. Does this make sense? Maybe this does not make sense. Anyway: ‘She is very funny’.
The Experience basically consists of O’Doherty playing both compere and main draw and then introducing acts to come on stage and do ten-minute bits, all of which are good. When we went, we saw Mae Martin (basically terrified of how funny she is), Two Episodes of Mash (never before has someone just died up there with such elan) and Sara Pascoe, who swanned on stage with a glass of white wine and told off-the-cuff jokes in the manner of a drunk auntie ruining a wedding, but in a good way. There is an interval for drinks, but if anything that exacerbates the lack-of-toilet-seat issue. It’s good. The end.
The Claudia O'Doherty Experience is at The Invisible Dot, 2 Northdown Street N1, on 12 April, 19 April and 26 April with different guests. Tickets are £10. See The Invisible Dot's website for more details and to book. We saw this show on a free press ticket.