James Sherwood: I Know What You Did Last Sunday

Note: This review is from 2006

Review by Steve Bennett

Many middle-class comedians try hard to obscure their backgrounds, but James Sherwood makes a virtue of it.

He comes from a long line of vicars and rectors, and is now a professional choral singer who does most of his work in churches. So given the 'write what you know' mantra, it's perhaps no surprise that his debut Edinburgh show revolves largely around the day-to-day workings of the Church of England, even though, personally, he's no fan.

I Know What You Did Last Sunday is a playful mauling of the establishment's conservative ways, its sacramental quiches, church hall tombolas, chaotic services and deranged preachers. There's more than a little affection in Sherwood's mockery, silently acknowledging the good intentions and gentle community of the church rather than embarking on some furious diatribe on the evils of organised religion.

There's nothing here to shock the regular churchgoer Sherwood accidentally unmasked in the front row. But although he sails close to Vicar Of Dibley whimsy, Sherwood actually has a little more bite than that.

He has something to say on why he doesn't believe the church's teachings that you must worship, fear and love this almighty, but clearly insecure, God. Other, angrier comics say this with more passion, but Sherwood is eloquent, and his sardonic routines smartly written. And he must be the only comic to give Psalm 111 Verse 5 the long-overdue satirical kicking it so richly deserves.

In a festival rife with attacks on religion, this view of mild-mannered Anglicanism from both inside and out, makes a measured, welcome contribution. Amen to that.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

Review date: 1 Aug 2006
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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