Randy Is Sober
Heath McIvor's greatest creation works because he's so simple. A muppet-like puppet with a normal voice, Randy allows McIvor to talk openly to the audience without looking them in the eye. Randy Is Sober is essentially a confessional stand-up show, emotional and hilarious, all delivered by what is basically a glorified sock.
Randy has quit smoking, drinking, sex and eating meat since his last show, and the world's most decadent puppet is back to tell us how abstinence is treating him. Some bits are better than others: a passage on vegetarianism drags slightly; discussions of sobriety are wonderful; a section on looking for religion is sublime.
The strange thing about Randy is the relationship with the audience. People seem happier to chat to him than they would to a human comic, with some of the oddest heckles in history being thrown at him tonight ("I've lost my perineum" being a choice example). McIvor does well to engage a crowd he can't see; the crowd seem to forget over time that the puppet isn't real.
It doesn't quite hit the dizzying heights of Rickett's Lane, Randy's show with Sammy J, but all the same it's a daring experiment that subtly reinvents the entire notion of stand-up comedy.
Randy Is Sober, Underbelly's Pasture, August 5-29 (not 15th), 21:10, £9/£10