Richard Gadd: Breaking Gadd @ The Counting House
Picking up from the most disturbing chapter of Richard Gadd’s life, Breaking Gadd (completely unrelated to Breaking Bad) is another disturbing docu-comedy hour deconstructing his mental breakdown, in an hour that will have you questioning your sanity and hot-footing it to your happy place. This latest offering arrives a year of the cult success of Cheese and Crack Whores, extending his gritty meditation on rotten luck, wonky morals and personal depravity.
The show begins with Gadd performing a weird bedding cabaret, exalting the pseudo-political leanings of his overbearing sponsor. What at first seems absurdist to the point of suspending disbelief, it’s an important thread that underpins the entirety of the premise. As the hour weaves on he performs a sort of breakdown burlesque, peeling off physical layers as he delves further into his own psyche. With a gaggle of props, questionable cohorts and Gadd’s signature disturbing monologues, it strays as far beyond the boundaries of traditional comedy as it does good taste.
Once again the hour capitalises on fictional Gadd’s woeful and equally repellent attempts at wooing the opposite sex, whilst being the mostly unwilling recipient of opportunistic advances from others. It’s dark, raw viewing that has a small faction of the audience visibly on edge, but the unapologetically close-to-the-bone humour is a winner with most. Laughter is yanked from the crowd through shock rather than traditional setup; it’s frequent, loud and audibly tinged with disbelief. At times the narrative is so labyrinthian, it can be a little hard to follow, leaving the showgoers playing catch up, but in a show that feeds on mass disorientation, it’s easily forgiven.
You’ll be hard-pushed to find anything else as gleefully sick on the Fringe. It’s comic inventiveness at its rawest and finest, and far braver than the offerings of most young comedians. This is only going to cement Gadd’s reputation as the king of indie anti-humour.