On a mild Wednesday evening, we are ushered into the Upstairs at the Soho Theatre for an evening with Christopher Bliss, Rob Carter the comedian/actor/writer's popular character. Rob Carter (Peep Show, Fresh Meat, Siblings) after making splashes in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival brings his Shropshire everyman hero to the Soho Theatre for his play entitled I Spy With My Little Eye Something Beginning With Why Have You Been Sleeping With My Wife (thank god for copy and paste)
What we are treated to is a night of truly British silliness and humour. Maybe going over the heads of your continental friends unless you have warmed them up on a diet of Little Britain (but far nicer and less racist) and Monty Python (but more every day). There is something very innocent and childlike about the comedy Christopher Bliss provides, having confidence and energy but no writing/acting/comedic ability. Not really involving any smut but very much a show for adults this lovable village idiot shines with supposed unintentional comedic timing. In the realm of a cut-price The Play That Goes Wrong and similar in theme to Sh*t Faced Shakespeare the enjoyment of something a little bit rubbish abounds in this production. A perfect night out show, you’re in Soho, a couple of drinks in, and want some culture to offset the shots of Sambuca you will most likely do later, this is definitely one to consider. It's the light-hearted, audience shaming fun that Britain does so well (almost a twinge of patriotic pride).
Rob Carter has lovingly created a character that is a perfect clown, we laugh frequently with/at his misplaced confidence and strangely uncomfortable interactions with the audience and the other actors. Writing a truly dreadful play (I Spy), Christopher brings two “talented actors” to join him on stage. One who has been in 2 whole shows (Ryan Lane) and one who is his next-door neighbour (Joanna Griffin). Griffin and Lane's multi-roling is truly dreadful bringing their own idiosyncratic flavour to the wonderfully awkward piece. This play within a play reduces the audience to tears. The surprisingly hard feat of acting badly (if you are a good actor) like singing badly if you're trained in singing is no problem for this trio of comically ungifted.
The show although hilarious does drag a little and like the case with all audience participation you are very reliant on the mood of the audience on that specific night. With dad jokes flying left right and centre and some nice physical comedy I hope that more of the slapstick use of props might happen and this is something that could be expanded. Likewise reading the lines from scripts is a funny touch but could be played with more to create some contrast.
I Spy With My Little Eye Something Beginning With Why Have You Been Sleeping With My Wife (couldn’t help myself) does what is says on the tin. It’s a laugh; it gives energy and is deeply enjoyable too watch. Suitable for a wide range of audience members just make sure not to take your ballet loving uncle in his turtle neck, this is a show for those who have never truly grown up and long may they remain!
I Spy With My Little Eye Something Beginning With Why Have You Been Sleeping With My Wife: A Play by Christopher Bliss
Playing at Soho Theatre from 23rd – 27th April 2019 at 8.30pm each evening.
Box office: 020 7478 0100Last modified: April 6, 2021