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Pierre Novellie: Why Can’t I Just Enjoy Things?

The reaction amongst theatre regulars to Pierre Novellie’s take on a visit to The Play That Goes Wrong in London’s West End would probably range from familiarity to contempt. He finds himself on the same row as a woman who was very noisy, and while her shoutouts were always show-related, there were several interventions from front-of-house staff, but she carried on undeterred. Novellie also raises an interesting point, and one unnervingly relevant to show reviews: aren’t most things simply ‘six out of ten’ – just ‘good’ without being spectacular or downright disgraceful?

Pierre NovellieA topic touched on by at least one other comedy show I’ve seen at this year’s Fringe (and I’m sure many others in comedy history) is the parental instruction for their children to clear their plates because there are malnourished children in other parts of the world, particularly Africa. Novellie, born in Johannesburg, offers a unique perspective on this familiar territory. He also presents a snobbery that is relatable because so many people think similar thoughts, even if they wouldn’t admit it. For instance, “the public”, which apparently doesn’t include anyone in the room, are to be looked on, their lack of civility being what it is.

For someone who isn’t talking at breakneck speed, a remarkable amount of ground is covered in this comedy hour. In hindsight, it’s also extraordinary that such hearty laughter could result from topics such as supermarket meal deals and lateness. There’s never a dull moment in this show that fortunately or unfortunately gets a bit more from me than the six out of ten that Novellie would prefer.

4 stars

Review by Chris Omaweng

Pierre isn’t a curmudgeon, exactly, it’s just most things feel about 6/10 – and he doesn’t see eye-to-eye with anyone else on what make a 0/10 or a 10/10. Through his comedy, Pierre tries to work out why his experience of the world sometimes seems so at odds with everyone else’s. Along the way he enlists the help of fish blood, Charles Dickens and the ‘piss goblin’. Is Pierre his own worst enemy when it comes to breaking through to the ‘fun zone’ or is everyone else in the world wrong? And if he is wrong: why?

Pierre Novellie: Why Can’t I Just Enjoy Things?
1 – 28 August (not 13, 19, 20, 21) @ 6.10pm
Monkey Barrel

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