Review: Christopher Bliss: I Spy With My Little Eye Beginning With Why Are You Sleeping With My Wife?, Soho Theatre
24 April 2019
“Shropshire’s spectacle-donning, curtain-clad Christopher Bliss is back!”
Award-winning comedian Rob Carter returns to a theatre near you – that’s Soho Theatre to be clear – and his lines are as witty and razor-sharp as ever. Shropshire’s spectacle-donning, curtain-clad Christopher Bliss is back with a bang, only this time he is even more sure of himself and his multitude of talents because he has written a play.
If you’re a fan of Rob Carter’s comedy and his incarnation of Shropshire’s finest specimen, Christopher Bliss, you won’t be disappointed with his latest work. Originally performed at the Edinburgh Fringe festival in 2018, this hour-long hoot-of-a-show frames the dramatic device of (ahem) play within a play with cunning originality.
Co-starring Joanna Griffin and Ryan Lane – a stellar comedy duo who work through the character changes seamlessly (and there are quite a few) – this is a new outing for Rob Carter’s beloved creation, Christopher Bliss. Only this time Christopher has written a novel which he has (obviously) adapted into a play. He casts himself as Michael, a post-office clerk and feckless father of three-year-old Thomas.
Carter opens the show with some light audience interaction – “Are you feeling raunchy tonight?” – displaying his fearless ability to roll with the punches. He maintains a steady dialogue with the audience by consistently breaking the fourth wall, similar to his mockumentary-style work; a trademark of his that really lends itself to the show.
Joanna Griffin plays Christopher’s coy and awkward friend, who feeds off audience encouragement and is roped in to perform the character of Michael’s dissatisfied wife. Ryan Lane is Christopher’s professional actor friend who is so experienced he’s been in two whole plays – he too takes on a myriad of roles each with their own quirks and idiocies to boot.
The audience couldn’t get enough of the ridiculous characters with their swift costume changes, jerky movements and exaggerated expressions. Chuck in an absurd and ridiculous plot, including all the special effects and devices expected of a low-brow play, and you’ve got yourself a comedic romp with more booing and jeering than a pantomime. So do yourself a favour and bag yourself a ticket before they all sell out. “Ruddy hell!”