With Cheese And Crackwhores, comedian Richard Gadd not only has one of the best titled shows around at the moment, he also has one of the funniest and most imaginative. Gadd is on the edge: stressed about doing his stand-up show and broken-up inside after his girlfriend Cathy unceremoniously dumped him. Yet he struggles on, for our sake, with wild-eyed ‘audience banter’ and a set of beautifully off-the-wall jokes of which the self-proclaimed highlight sees him compare Deborah Meaden to an old sock.
The collapsing stand-up routine is deftly dove-tailed with Gadd’s own on-stage breakdown as memories of Cathy come flooding back. He demands to know why she left, though this soon becomes painfully clear to the audience as Gadd re-enacts a failed anniversary dinner at McDonalds and then an attempt to win Cathy back on her doorstep in front of her new man. As it gets worse for him, it gets better for us. And by the end, there is blood, sweat and a small tsunami of cake crumbs on the stage. Cruel and masochistic? Sure, but also irresistibly hilarious.
Director Gary Reich has engineered a brilliantly tight show with clever use of audio and video to conjure up Cathy and also Gadd’s put-upon shrink, played winningly by Adam Lannon. Geoffrey Aymer as Gadd’s sidekick is also an absolute delight – his entrance alone is worth the price of admission.
This is deliciously cruel comedy and Richard Gadd masterfully walks the tightrope of comedy and tragedy in Soho Theatre’s intense upstairs space. At times it feels a bit like being inside Gadd’s head, which is a mad, bad and delirious place to be – for about an hour.
Cheese And Crackwhores is on at the Soho Theatre between Thursday 24 – Saturday 26 April, 2014. Tickets £10. Londonist saw this show on a complimentary press ticket.