Richard Gadd: Monkey See Monkey Do

On stage lies the treadmill that has become a particular talking point. As the projector screen lights up and a sleeping Gadd is awoken by someone in a gorilla costume and chased into the open, he appears on stage and takes to the treadmill, as he competes for the 2015 Man’s Man award. Gadd stabs early, satirising the idealisms of ‘manhood’ and sexuality he feels pressured to conform to. Further manifesting into the social anxieties his brain leads him into ill thinking.

From start to finish it’s a seriously slick inch perfect performance that has utilised mulit-media platforms of video, voice-overs and sound track to create a metaphor for the downward spiral Gadd has endured after being the victim of serious sexual assault. Giving the magnitude and seriousness of the story Gadd tells, the jokes and gags serve to remind that this is a comedy show, yet it is hard to fall into hysterics. He does manage to deliver some of his most poignant moments when the show is at it’s most ridiculous, re-enacting his therapy sessions with a certain part of his body, the juxtaposition is an incredible feat.

At the tail end of Richard Gadd’s Monkey See Monkey Do, he states to the audience that they must have been wondering why he didn’t put his show in the theatre section? It’s a perfect summary of the performance and sheer emotional depth the audience have witnessed over the hour, that it’ll be likely to be engrained in them for years. Gadd has crafted a show on a personal subject many would not be able to talk about, let alone create a multifaceted metaphor to tell it. Inventive, touching and worthy of the standing ovation.

★★★★

Chris Aitken

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