When the reviewer must sit on a shelf due to every other seat and standing space being occupied, despite half the crowd having already been turned away for safety reasons, you know there must be something to this free Fringe show. This was the scene in Voodoo Rooms for one Chris Bliss: Writing Wrongs.
Chris Bliss is a character created by Rob Carter, a naïve writer who takes all the advice from terrible books like Moby Dick and fixes them in his own novels. The character is charming, creative and undeniably well-constructed intellectually. Injecting some panto elements, Bliss invites the audience to get active. Encouraging role-play, shout outs and jeers of ‘Ruddy Hell’ when they find a line of dialogue well written. It’s overall an incredibly pleasant show, with some engaging material.
This was a peculiar one, though: was it worth sitting on a shelf? Not really, but everyone else seemed to adore it. There were a few quiet smilers but overall, the show was a crowd pleaser. There’s tremendous thought process going on here. The jokes are manufactured with acute detail. The profound silliness of the character, yet still so brilliantly conceived makes for an interesting conundrum.
So, is this a Fringe show to turn up early for? Oh goodness yes. It’s witty, crafted with care and linguistically satisfying in its love as a harmless pastiche. Is it worth standing or cramping yourself for an hour? Perhaps not.
Words: Dominic Corr
Picture: Suzi Corker
Chris Bliss: Writing Wrongs, Voodoo Rooms, Aug 23-27, 2.55pm