Terry Saunders: Pulp Boy
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2006
Nathan Cooke is that boy, he likes music and draws on his bag in biro. He should be in Glastonbury discovering women, but is in fact on holiday with his mother against his will. To exact his revenge on her for keeping him from possibly kissing a girl for a first time he takes a vow to only speak in Pulp lyrics... it works.
In Pulp Boy, young storyteller-stroke-stand-up Terry Saunders imagines a typically moody teenager who vows, for a while, only to speak in the lyrics Jarvis Cocker made famous.
Under the lad's bizarre logic, it's a way of tackling the feelings of being displaced, misunderstood and unloved and a rebellion of sorts against his killjoy mother who's dragging him on a budget break to Spain while he'd much rather be going to Glastonbury with his pals.
While his self-imposed affliction could lead him to ridicule, it also leads him to the first flushes of love, sparking a holiday romance with a girl equally enamoured with the band.
Saunders's touching tale which he reads unapologetically from a printout is remarkable in the way he captures the feelings of being lost and alone when 15, combining the certainty that you know all with the frustration the rest of the world doesn't see it, for a reason beyond your comprehension.
Our protagonist is at once romantic and crassly unsympathetic, seeing himself as a complex not contradictory. Saunders excels at recreating that maelstrom of conflicting emotions, speaking in the authentic tone of a defiant but confused young man.
Pulp Boy is wonderfully written, poignant and quirky. It's not a side-splitting romp, nor is it intended to be, but there are plenty of moments of rich humour, mostly in the struggle to find just the right lyric for the occasion.
This is a fulfilling, grown-up piece of comedic artistry, warm, sincere and worthy of a wider audience.
Leicester Comedy Festival,