Edinburgh Festival review – Richard Herring

The resurrection of Christ on a Bike!, Richard Herring’s 2001 show updated, has some funny moments but still feels a bit dated, writes Jay Richardson.

Richard_Herring3Reprising his 2001 Fringe show and first solo hour, Richard Herring returns to his Jesus Christ preoccupation, an intriguing hobby for such an avowed atheist.

The life of the Lord affords far more comedic scope than simply challenging his Christian parents though, so while mocking religion is perhaps even more de rigueur for stand-up than when Herring conceived Christ on a Bike!, at 43, he retains a strong streak of the smart-arse teenager, delivering the gospel according to Richard.

And who’s to say he’s not the new messiah? After a few idle musings, such as “how long was Jesus’ knob?” he takes aim at those cornerstones of Christian scripture, the Ten Commandments. Approaching them as dogma, in their fullest expression, he adopts a comparable pedantry to picking apart their logical inconsistencies, obliterating fish (and loaves) in a barrel to be sure, but richly amusing pickings nonetheless.

A rather gratuitous dream sequence, in which Herring races Jesus on a bike, exposes the insecurities behind his atheism, but leads him to conclude that Christ was cool and his key gripe is with Christian hypocrisy. His big finish is a deconstruction of Jesus’ genealogy as portrayed in the gospels of Matthew and Luke, an impressive feat of memory and snigger at stupid biblical names that nevertheless points out a glaring discrepancy – no small quibble when it’s fundamental to a millennia-old code of organised belief.

Irrespective of new material, there’s no escaping the impression that Christ on a Bike! has dated, but it’s a compelling hour nonetheless.

Three stars
Richard Herring – Christ on a Bike! is on at 9.45pm at the Assembly, click here for booking.

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