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Jon Richardson: This Guy At Night - Fringe 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Corry Shaw

Something goes seriously wrong with time when you watch Jon Richardson. Despite being in a room that was hotter than Hades I genuinely believed that Richardson had under-run. He didn’t; he is just so good he actually bends time.

And this when he is not feeling on form due to a chewing gum incident earlier in the day. Richardson is a perfectionist known for his OCD tendencies, so when he accidentally picked up someone else’s disposed chewing gum with his bare hand before the show it was bound to affect him, but his constant hand-rubbing and furious over-reaction just strengthened every point that was to follow.

The question Richardson is asking is does perfection exist? Does striving for perfection enrich or mar our existence? He has a deeply held belief that every mistake is equal whether it be dropping a spoon or something much worse – and the only way to rectify it is to get so angry and enraged that you never make the same mistake again. Yet all this ire is wrapped in this likable, grinning, innocent looking man. I don’t know if you have ever seen jovial fury but it is a thing to behold.

The topics at the eye of Richardson’s hissy hurricane are really very mundane. BT gets its moment in the storm, alongside the BNP, dating and tube strikes but every topic is approached from a distinct angle. It is not the usual woes that trouble Richardson, it is the minutia, the seemingly insignificant details that rile him and it makes for surprising, refreshing and unique comedy, who else has ever ranted about a big corporation trying to save them money?

As he dissects his life, delving into the two sides of his personality – the cheery chappy he brings out in company and the darker side that hates the world because it is imperfect – we get a genuine glimpse of his inner workings and also a mirror held up to our own imperfections.

This all may sound like heavy stuff but the gleeful way in which Richardson vents his spleen and the absolute lunacy of the objects at the root of his despair keep the laughs flowing, and I mean tears down the cheeks, aching sides, roaring belly laughs.

Levity is also provided with a tale of ice skating that despite the fairly innocuous content, is so brilliantly descriptive and gloriously delivered that it leaves the entire audience rolling in their seats and clutching their ribs.

Richardson claims he doesn’t like to talk about his problems but this show must be providing some kind of outlet for him, and there is a touching truth and openness to this performance that is incredibly moving.

On his search for the ideal world, Richardson has achieved perfection with this show.

Review date: 15 Aug 2009
Reviewed by: Corry Shaw

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