Joseph Morpurgo – Hammerhead

Give Joseph Morpurgo an inch, he’ll invert it, fold it, square it then run a mile with it. Hammerhead is a multi-media show that is impressively orchestrated from beginning to end. Set up as a post-theatre performance Q&A with Joseph Morpurgo who has writtten, produced and performed a one man play of Frankenstein playing all of 85 characters for nine hours. Like Victor Frankenstein himself, Morpurgo’s character is driven by sheer ego to go beyond the realms of what is realistic by creating a monster that is beyond his control.

There’s some wonderful silliness in Hammerhead and the multi-layering is genius. Particular highlight is the ‘easter eggs’ he has put in the show and how he explains the convoluted quasi-narrative along with a musical for a Chartered Surveyor.

But for all the cleverness of the show and hit rate of gags, I didn’t feel my face was contorting as a result. As a farce, it follows the rules a little bit too well, if not for the pace of the show and multiple strands awaiting to be unearthed at un-expecting moments it might be considered a bit predictable. The finale seemed a bit too similar to Phil Ellis’s Unplanned Orphan from a few years ago, but it may just be purely coincidental. Well, performed, well delivered and well written, it’s a proper monster of a show, but lacks that killer bite to be a stand-out show for myself.

★★★ and a half

Chris Aitken