Peter Buckley Hill is happy to admit the whole premise of his show is a lie and proves the universe
IN THE words of Stanley Unwin, another of comedy’s great eccentrics, “deep joy, deep, deep joy”. This is a glorious hour and, I am guessing, also a uniquely funny hour.
From the moment I bump into Peter Buckley Hill hunched at the top of the stairs, who tells me he has never – ever – done the show before, through the point at which the wonderful Canon’s Gait manager ejects a bloke in the queue for drinking Starbucks coffee on his premises, to the moment PBH invites us all to vent the “incipient scorn” he is sure he can feel in the room, I have a feeling that I’m going to love this show. But I have no idea quite how much I am going to love it.
After a quick and hilarious explanation of the use of the ‘set list’ on stage, an admission that the whole premise of the show is a lie, and a couple of ‘well known’ songs, PBH announces that the three heads on the Cerberus of his show are failure, death and science. There then follows the most brilliant and eyewateringly-funny deconstruction, reconstruction and even misconstruction of Einstein’s Theory of Relativity there could ever be. And there is nothing relative about that opinion. What Buckley Hill proves in this opening section is not just that the universe is 140 per cent sofa, but that he is both an intellectual and comedic force to be reckoned with.
No-one except Rob Newman gives their audience such a fabulous display of polymath comedy. But the hour has the kind of light and shade normally seen only during a thunderstorm. One minute we are rocking with laughter about pubic hair and hedges, the next we are giggling at an extended section based on Schrödinger’s Cat, which leads to us all singing The Rainbow Song while Buckley Hill points out that not many shows boast a reference to mnemonic anachronism. He has such obvious passion for, and utter enjoyment of, what he is doing on the stage, it is infectious. Even when he is murdering Bob Marley all over again.
Peter is worried about plate tectonics, puzzled by dental records and tackles Fermat’s Last Theorem through the medium of song. I laughed so much at his Heston Blumenthal joke that I swallowed two wine gums whole. I want to go and see this show again as soon as I can. Which is about the biggest compliment I can give. Apart from these five stars, of course.
Until 30 August. Tomorrow 6:05pm.