Review: Richard Herring What is Love Anyway? Newcastle Stand.
March 18, 2012
Richard Herring | Giggle Beats
When I spoke to Richard Herring last year he was in the process of writing and previewing What is Love, Anyway, his half-flippant, half-serious attempt to destroy love. With typical assurance, Richard told me that he thought this show, a follow-up of sorts to Christ on a Bike: The Second Coming, was his best yet. Its the kind of throwaway line most comedians supply journalists with, I suppose, but he may have a point.
Of Herrings more recent outings, What is Love, Anyway? obviously lacks the political bite of Hitler Moustache; but its just as teasing as his religious satire Christ on a Bike Its okay to laugh at religion, but you cant pick on a magical thing I believe in! and as biographical as The Headmasters Son.
How can a man who believes so passionately in the rational world also have the capacity for love? Isnt love just a survival technique that aids procreation, a chemical process in the brain?
So much of this show is about Herring himself. How he thought he found love in a playground simply holding hands with a strange girl; a sweet observation in itself that elicits awkward laughter of recognition. Or how the young Richard Herring, discontent with the sleazy behaviour of his friend Tom, decided to write a private poem to establish the difference between love and lust and show him just what he was missing from virginal life. Loneliness, namely.
Like his routine on collecting Ferrero Rochers for his girlfriend which I thought was the weakest point in his set in terms of the pay-off Herring hammers home the poem reading with repetition and an acute sense of timing. Stew would be proud.
Speaking of Lee, Herrings deft impression of his former double-act partner, presumably included to plug the Fist of Fun DVD release, is tremendous. Its just another reason to catch this show before it disappears
The strength of Herrings writing means the second section of What is Love, Anyway? is over before you know it. The call-backs come thick and fast, though theyre not shoe-horned into the set, and this sense of structure re-enforces your trust in Herring as the room goes quiet for the extended closing routine about his grandmother.
After facetious stories about adolescent angst, dirty Valentines Day cards, Ferrero Rochers, Stewart Lee and a club set routine on how Herrings girlfriend says silly things again, one of the few weaker moments he offers an emotionally satisfying end to the night that I wouldnt dream of spoiling in this review.
Whether What is Love, Anyway? is Richard Herrings best show to date is down to personal taste, I suppose, but one things for sure: I loved it.