Jonathan Pie is the satirical comic creation of Tom Walker an English actor currently based in London. Jonathan Pie may be mostly recognisable to people as the reporter ‘losing it’ over recent political happenings, in his series of YouTube videos, the series he was even picked up by an actual news channel in RT. He has now ended his relationship with RT and is embarking on a UK wide tour, starting with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
I had seen Pie’s videos and I was and still am a regular viewer of the new content he releases, so I was looking forward to seeing how he pulls together an hour long show. The show begins with a fake live broadcast of him outside the venue before he makes his way to the stage to begin. What we are told we are the live studio audience of a Children in Need broadcast and that Pie is filling in for John Barrowman who was unable to attend. This sets up the show of Pie looking to entertain us as the audience between live segments where he talks to the camera and his producer ‘Tim’. There are multiple rants throughout the hour with topics ranging from the problem with charity to silencing debate and from a dissection of Tory rule so far to the futility of resorting ad-hominem attacks.
These are the sorts of rants and anger we’ve come to expect from the character however these felt somewhat stale. The beauty of much of his material is that it is so up to date and the character has released multiple videos during the Fringe filmed in front of Edinburgh buildings however none of these topics are mentioned during the show. Whilst I know that all of his videos are scripted, there is a certain suspension of disbelief that comes with watching his online videos and that you could believe that this is a real reporter about to lose it. Unfortunately this harder to do for the hour and the material doesn’t feel fresh and up to date it feels scripted and rehearsed, which isn’t a problem for his online videos, even though they probably are.
The show has exactly what you’d expect from Pie, its an hour of ranting from a character that looks like he’s about to have an aneurysm with the veins on his head pulsing intensely but unfortunately for me it felt a bit flat and doesn’t have the same intensity and impact of his online videos.