David Reed: Shamblehouse

Article by Lizzie Cass-Maran | 13 Aug 2011
  • David Reed: Shamblehouse

Shamblehouse is the first solo show from former Penny Dreadful David Reed, hotly tipped for this year’s Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Newcomer.

From the moment he walks on stage, Reed is completely believable as each of his characters. This is not the masks and wigs school of character comedy. Reed is a superb actor and embraces the full physicality of each of his creations, and yet there is always a flicker of the man himself smiling knowingly and joyfully out of his eyes. This is particularly the case in his central character, a surreal Eastern European who seems to inhabit the space between worlds and between sketches, operating neither as tired filler nor something which suffocates the other characters.

If the audience’s deep investment in the acrobatic career of a doughnut seems unexpected, it’s nothing compared to their concern over the fate of an imaginary Labrador. Combining extreme silliness with moments of total poignancy, Reed is utterly captivating, and the crowd hang on his every word.

A strong ending has an epilogue which is brilliant but perhaps unnecessary, but this seems an insignificant criticism in an otherwise perfect hour.

David Reed: Shamblehouse

Pleasance Courtyard 5-29 August (not 16). From £8.50