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Andrew O'Neill: Winston Churchill Was Jack The Ripper
Andrew Roper: Cos I'm Free
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Andrew O'Neill: Winston Churchill Was Jack The Ripper
In 2006, a rumour started to spread around the internet. Britain's Greatest Prime Minister, Winston Churchill the man who single-handedly won the Second World War by fighting the Germans on the beaches, or something had a dark secret. He was also Britain's Most Notorious Serial Killer Jack The Ripper. Web sceptics (skwebtics) were unsure. Rolling news channels brought in 'experts'. But no-one called on Andrew O'Neill. Possibly because they didn't have his number.
So, in response to being shunned by the media circus, Andrew instead swore to wreak revenge on the mulletted fools, and undertook a mission to tell the world about the Churchill-Ripper phenomenon in his own words, at a time and venue to coincide with the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Using archive footage, crackly tape recordings and a variety of hats, history will be re-written live on stage ... 23 times in one month.
Some things are beyond parody. Andrew O'Neill clearly thought that for his ironic title he had devised the most preposterous but technically feasible idea he could in order to mock the insatiable demand for Jack The Ripper conspiracy theories.
So it came as something of a surprise that in the course of his research, he found that Winnie's dad, Randolph Henry Spencer Churchill, has previously been in the frame for the brutal murder and disembowelling of the Whitechapel prostitutes.
Yes, research. This is not some jokey marketing-led title trying to cash in on that lucrative Ripper dollar yet bearing little relation to the show's actual content. O'Neill really does spend the hour talking about the slayings, and theorising outrageously that Britain's great wartime leader was behind them.
The late-night timeslot and the atmospheric but dingy Underbelly venue are ideal for this dark tale. Metalhead anarchist O'Neill has something of the night about him, too and so makes the perfect host. He looks as if he's spent too much time in an underground lair; and indeed he has, as he used to work in the Cabinet War Rooms. Hence the Churchill fixation.
After a brief, surreal set-up, the show settles into a pattern. First, O'Neill recounts some morbidly fascinating aspects of the Ripper case, then some ridiculous supposition about how the future PM could have been implicated in it, and finally a silly-voiced character gives evidence to an imagined coroner's inquest in support of the theory.
The joke at the core of the show does wear thin after a while, but there's still plenty to recommend O'Neill. He has got an ear for a nonsensical but authoritative turn of phrase, which suits both the seriousness of the subject matter and its trivialisation by the industry that's sprung up around it. He can also spin a good anecdote and he's got the intelligence, opinions and knowledge to give weight to them. Added to the fact that the macabre Ripper story is still gruesomely absorbing, and the elements are in place for some interesting material, which O'Neill does deliver.
You need to be of strong constitution for some of this, and
not just the obvious. Jokes about Ian Huntley's alibi or housing
made from the corpses of children aren't going to appeal to everyone.
But it's not all bleak, as O'Neill also provides some Vic-and-Bob-style
nonsense and a few personal stand-up routines to give a varied
texture to an hour that can honestly claim to be bloody entertaining.
There was a massive buzz about this show in Edinburgh this year. It was recommended to me several times so I went along. I was not disappointed, in fact, I was impressed. O'Neill's wit and charm was captivating, the concept was a stroke of brilliance, and the show was nothing less than stunning. I and many others were surprised that Andrew O'Neill was not nominated for the if.comeddies newcomer award. He well and truly deserved to be.
In this show, Andrew (hard core rocker and military history/true crime enthusiast) set out to prove that Winston Churchill was Jack the Ripper. Via a mutated dog and slagging off stupid Americans. Weird, but fab! It's excellently written, brilliantly performed and is all round ace. The delivery is transfixing, something that rarely happens in comedy shows. If you like your comedy a bit weird and a bit intellectual, go see this
Fantastic and intelligent piece of comedy. I enjoyed this show immensely, from the silly drawings and hats right down to the gruesome details of the murders. There is something quite fantastic about being led on a flight of fancy by someone who really does know the subject area and who is confident in the knowledge that their fantasy is firmly bedded in reality. This is comedy for those who like to think, those who like to learn and those who like to find the humour that lies in the dark side of life. This is a cut above the rest.
Well crafted - maybe I missed it? I liked the drawings at the start before the show started descending into what I can only describe as a bad attempt at a comedy lecture. Dull! Please take notes from Dave Gorman on how this should be done.
This show is superb. The review is spot on though the 3 star rating is baffling me.
It was fantastic, I could not stop laughing. It has laughs from the drawings of the prostitutes at the beginning, to the Moby Dick book at the end. I strongly advise anybody who is in Edinburgh to go and check this show out, it is truly worth every penny.
This is one of the funniest sets i've ever seen, and probaly the best there was at the Fringe. the set has laughs every other minute and is worth every penny. i would easily go again. all i can say is that is you are near the Fringe, or a set he is playing, so and seen him. i garentee you will not not be dissapointed
This show is awful. It's not funny. Do not waste your money or time on this frankly atrocious show.
Had a chance to see Andrew preview this in Manchester last night. I was blown away. A fine blend of the deliciously surreal, the bitingly satirical and the downright hilarious. The hour flew past. If you're in Edinburgh this year go and you like your comedy a cut above the norm then go and see this show. You will not be disappointed.
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