Sean Morley @ Heroes, Hive
Baffling comedy experiment from cult comic Sean Morley
There is a theme emerging in alternative comedy. Surprise: it’s skeletons and bones. From the show-stopping “spooky song” in Netflix’s I Think You Should Leave to quips in Demi Lardner’s Ditch Witch 800, the beginning of Sean Morley’s show is fully on brand. Dressed as Nebuchadnezzar, Morley invites us to learn about the Babylonian King’s secret kept from history: that there is a skeleton demon inside of him which must be slain by an audience member, lest a more powerful demon will rise up and wreak havoc.
It is an excellently surreal scene, with all the hallmarks of ambitious cult comedy character, and there’s something strangely simple about the narrative that captures the audience’s imagination. Then, the character is removed and the show switches gear to a low-energy debate about the nature of good faith. We were tricked. This is the bulk of the hour.
Morley certainly deserves admiration for the aggresively alienating hour he has devised. He makes the audience feel like lab rats, being probed and prodded, desperately looking to find new solutions to the problem he has set for us and receive our reward (cheese/laughs). As experimenter, Morley is in total control and engineers his audience to be precisely where he wants them, expertly repeating his test with different, sometimes unwilling, participants.
Soon I Will Be Dead and My Bones Will Be Free to Wreak Havoc Upon the Earth Once More is a one of a kind show, proving that Morley is a one of a kind comedian, but is it art or is it comedy? We’ll never know until the flesh drips from our bones.
Sean Morley: Soon I Will Be Dead and My Bones Will Be Free to Wreak Havoc Upon the Earth Once More, Heroes @ Hive (The Bunka), until 25 Aug, 3.20pm, £5/PWYW