Ricky Gervais: Science, Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh
Thursday 27 August 2009
As with Animals, Politics and Fame, Ricky Gervais' new show, Science, bears little or no relation to its moniker; rather, it is an excuse to set the stage as Frankenstein's castle laboratory. Of course, what's in a name if the material is good?
Certainly, Gervais starts evenly enough, in particular with an amusing tale about watching Ken Dodd perform in Regent's Park alongside a sexually excited female fan. The routine builds to Gervais making a bizarre soundscape of Dodd's trademark groans and the moans of this over-amorous lady mixed in with Gervais' own gasping bewilderment.
Inevitably, in what follows, there is a large measure of tongue-in-cheek political incorrectness. So for example, Gervais wants to keep the goat that his friends have gifted an African family in his name. This kind of shtick falls down for me, however, when he describes the only time he found himself drinking and driving. Remarking that he nearly knocked over an old woman he adds: "I didn't though... I raped her." Gervais says that this is his "favourite" joke, but it is ill-judged to say the least.
When you go from this rape joke to a joke about how spiders look like they are "always ready", you can see how unstructured Science is. In many shows themes and ideas weave in and out and, as a reviewer or an audience member, you are able to pick up threads and tie them together. With Science you might as well talk about it chronologically, as a timeline is the show's only binding.
The longest section of the show is a dissection of an old school book Gervais recently found that tells the story of Noah's Ark. This fable is every atheist's dream, an easy comic target and one that is revisited often. Trashing it is perhaps the only part of the show that links to science in the sense that the tale is irrational and his embroidery is attempting to undermine it. "Toucans fly! Get there first!" he exclaims pointing at a projected image of the birds walking to the ark.
Weakly lampooning a couple of Oscar Wilde quotes and noting that swearing would be out of place on the Antiques Roadshow are just some of the gems that come before the end of this 75-minute show. Perhaps Hollywood, the reason why Gervais' stock has risen lately, is also why his latest stand-up offering is his most disappointing.
filmIn Black Seahe is as audiences have never seen him before
MusicThe band accidentally called Londoners the C-word
Film 'I've never been comfortable on-screen', she says
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Jennifer Lawrence scores first UK top 40 single with Hunger Games track 'The Hanging Tree'
- 2 Shia LaBeouf claims he was raped during #IAMSORRY art installation performance
- 3 'You should come to my house and eat cheeses with me': 4-year-old sends adorable love letter to girl at school
- 4 Scientists predict green energy revolution after incredible new graphene discoveries
- 5 Michael Buerk wishes he killed Jimmy Savile when he had the chance - by pushing him overboard a cruise ship
I'm A Celebrity 2014: Jungle security stepped up after murder and 'suspicious death' close to camp
Star Wars The Force Awakens trailer: What we know about JJ Abrams' film
Exodus Gods and Kings casting controversy: Ridley Scott would never cast 'Mohammad so-and-so from such-and-such' in lead role
Jennifer Lawrence scores first UK top 40 single with Hunger Games track 'The Hanging Tree'
Marilyn Manson denies involvement in shocking Lana Del Rey rape video
Obama: The only people with the right to object to immigration are Native Americans
Ukip says babies born to immigrants in the UK should be classed as migrants – which would include Nigel Farage’s own children
The young are the new poor: Sharp increase in number of under-25s living in poverty, while over-65s are better off than ever
Tamir Rice: 12-year-old boy playing with fake gun dies after being shot by Ohio police
Ukip mocked after mistaking Westminster Cathedral – for a mosque
David Cameron sets out immigration reforms: We should distrust Ukip and their 'snake-oil of simple solutions'