This is the premiere of Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer and is a part of Camden People’s Theatre, ‘Hotbed’ Season of Sex Theatre. It is advertised as a “site-specific” musical comedy which I suppose translates as “made up as you go along”. It was written by Paul Haworth and performed by trendy Scottish hipster, David G. Lees. The term musical comedy is something of a stretch of the imagination on two counts. While I accept that comedy is down to personal taste, there was not much laughter emanating from the audience and, as for musical, three or four short pieces played on a mobile phone is not very impressive.
The format of the play is David talking to the audience firstly about his devotion to the late Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother and then about his confused homosexual leanings and admiration of dancer, actor and gay icon John Barrowman. Along with his ramblings he hands out cheese, biscuits, drinks etc. Once you take out the time he spends opening the door and greeting all the latecomers, quiet periods when he is making the cocktails, standing silently and walking around the audience offering cake and biscuits, there is not a great deal of time left for humour.
I didn’t find David funny and I really did try. He is pleasant and engaging and maybe with the right material might even be funny, however not here. Other than two gentlemen sitting on the only comfortable seating available, who laughed inordinately loudly at every word, there was only sporadic amusement evident, among the audience.
When the performer walks among you handing out cocktails and snacks you do feel duty bound to bond with them, but laugh at them, no I don’t think so. Also, appearing to snort, sex enhancing drugs on stage, is probably unwise in this day and age and the accompanying joke concerning the late Queen Mother was in poor taste. Before partaking of, or perhaps pretending to partake of, the drugs, he went round to every member of the audience asking them to state that they were not police officers. Yet more time wasted and, if it was just a joke, it was not a very funny one.
Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer spends too much time not really doing anything at all and needs some work to craft it in to an actual show.
Reviewed by Graham Archer