Never has a show been more aptly named than Robin Ince’s Chaos of Delight. That is exactly what it is. He does up his cardigan, and that is how we know we have started. The thrill of both his shows this year is that they feel as if Ince has simply opened up a door into his brain and invited us into the playroom.
Robin Ince: Chaos Of Delight, Gilded Balloon at the Museum (Venue 64) ****
Satanic Rites Of Robin Ince, The Stand Comedy Club 2 (Venue 5) ****
Where you might bob along on the flow of other comics’ hours, with Ince you are white water rafting.We get Brian Cox alongside Robert Rauschenberg’s art, Kafka’s porn and Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorem. Naturally, Cosmological Vertigo and the Block Universe sit alongside Morrissey and Paul Eddington … this, after all, is the work of a man who owns 129 “knitting paintings”.
No, there is no overtly discernible string here, no theme, no message, other than that the world is an amazing, wonderful place and we are wonderful blips upon it. Some blips, self-evidently, more wonderful than others. His dad and his son sound pretty wonderful, and pop up frequently, whether wondering about death (son) or considering the culinary possibilities of five-year-old eggs (father). The beautiful, hopeful – and, of course, completely scientifically accurate – explanation of death that Ince gives his son should be taught to everyone, everywhere. The hour seems to be largely made up of brilliant random thoughts, asides, “Ooo and that reminds me” moments and an overall feeling of good fortune that we are, quite possibly, at the pointy end of What The Universe Can Do. For Cox fans, simply close your eyes and it is like having the man himself in the room.
The Satanic Rites of Robin Ince is another attempt by Britain’s cuddliest great brain to defy the laws of time. Readings from 40 books and 100 images (sooo many amazing films that you will want to see), plus stories from Ince’s idiosyncratic childhood, fun facts about long-dead horror movie icons, terrifying public health announcements and his world-class Vincent Price impression simply will not fit into one of our Earth Hours. But we have so much fun trying. Such is the alchemic mix of enthusiasm, knowledge and observation, that while you might not go into this show as a horror enthusiast, you will most definitely come out as one. “I just want you to have fun – I just want to tell you all the things in my head, but I am not sure I should,” he says at one point during Chaos of Delight. It would be the Ring Cycle of Comedy and I would book my tickets now.
Robin Ince: Chaos of Delight and Satanic Rites of Robin Ince both until 26 August