The man who brought surrealism to the mainstream returns
Tuesday, 25th February 2020
– Doors open at 7:00pm
Monkey Barrel Comedy
John Luke Roberts: After Me Comes the Flood (But in French)
drip splosh splash drip BLUBBP BLUBBP BLUBBPBLUBBPBLUBBP!!
Edinburgh Festival Reviews 2019: ★★★★★ The Wee Review (5 STARS)
“there isn’t a single point where the energy dips or where the
attention wanders...a genial madman and a riveting stage
presence...hilarious and wonderful”
‘One of the very great joys of comedy is an act that can apply a considerable
intelligence and erudition to the art of being very, very silly. No-one does this better
than John-Luke Roberts, and After Me Comes the Flood is further evidence that he’s
not only one of the finest clowns, but surely one of the best comedians currently
pounding a stage.
Roberts isn’t just indulging in absurd whimsy for its own sake, although there is
absolutely nothing wrong with that. It’s clear from the first moments where he tells
the audience he’s generously providing the punchline to the first joke in advance that
there is going to be method in the ensuing madness. Everyone still laughs. Aha!
After Me Comes the Flood is Roberts’ idiosyncratic take on the deconstruction of
humour. For the duration of the show it’s as if he’s kicking the notion of comedy to
pieces while tickling it to see if it still giggles. Comedy works by surprise, with each
gag simply a delightful fright. “Laughter is just a modified scream,” is how he puts it.
He’s removing the surprise to see if it still functions. It does.
This sounds pretentious, but as it’s all achieved through the most perfect frippery, the
show is also just surface-level hilarious even wearing Roberts’ intellectual interests on
its sleeve. It’s clear he has a fondness for repurposing dense concepts to the service of
pure daftness. He references such names as Newton, Pavlov and Schrödinger, and
existentialism is a particular touchstone, with such thinkers as Descartes, Nietzsche
nd… Old McDonald all filtered through his joyfully unique imagination.
Roberts himself eschews props this year. A completely incidental crown and a
fetching green moustache are his only adornments. His clowning comes from his
physicality and his way with words. He gives the impression of chaos, but After Me
Comes the Flood is immaculately structured, which seemingly random characters
popping up again and again like Whack-a-Moles. Of particular delight is Roberts’
romantic partner; a chronically passive-aggressive Oompa-Loompa who expresses
their frequent disapproval through familiar musical interludes. Roberts switches
between characters with ease, while constantly pointing out the artifice at every turn.
There isn’t a single point where the energy dips or where the attention wanders.
Roberts is a genial madman and a riveting stage presence with the slightly unsettling
edge of many of the best clowns. Surrealism can often feel unfocused, filtered
through a hazy gauze of oneiric weirdness for its own sake. John-Luke Roberts
somehow tames the numerous frayed strands of his imagination into something
(relatively) coherent, hilarious and wonderful.
Tuesday, February 25th 2020
Doors open: 7:00pm
Bookings close: February 25th 2020
Just off of the Royal Mile