Eric – The One-Man Sketch Comedy Show
Scott Gooding @ Queen’s Theatre 3
7:30pm, Tue 13 Mar 2012
So – if I was taking the title literally, I’d have expected to see a sketch comedy show performed by one man… namely Eric.
And it turns out that that’s a pretty accurate summation of the performance… except for the “Eric” part, because the One Man is Scott Gooding.
Gooding’s sketches – written for him by a collection of playwrights – range wildly in tone; from straight-out comedy and physical humour, through to social commentary and dark absurdism. His most memorable pieces feature the characters that make repeat appearances: there’s a chap who repeatedly pitches incredibly bad TV show ideas, a Bond villain who suffers interminable frustration due to his crapulent minions, and a terrible radio host.
But the highlight for me was the lucha libre wrestler who performed introductory Spanish lessons; there was something utterly bizarre about the incongruences of a masked luchador reciting such basic phrases, and Gooding’s body language behind his mask just totally cracked me up.
In fact, Gooding’s performance was stellar across all his sketches. Director Scott Brennan keeps things moving, with really quick transitions between scenes, and I found the world of Eric to be quite enjoyable. The only problem? Queen’s Theatre 3 is a wide space, and tonight there was a grand total of eight people in. And it’s hard to laugh out loud – you know, showing appreciation for the performance taking place in front of you – in a room that size without the laugh sounding a little like an insult. And that makes me sad.