Voodoo Rooms (Venue 68)
Rob Carter’s alter-ego Christopher Bliss isn’t so much a pastiche of the self-important novelist as a generally harmless idiot who’s found a pastime writing novels. Not that he truly comprehends what they are, confusing them with chapters and demanding his literature engage in polite introductions, sniffily dismissing the likes of Moby Dick as sorely lacking in this respect.
Resplendent in turquoise windcheater, spectacles and a high-buttoned shirt, the effusive Bliss’s rhotacism doesn’t impinge upon his self-regard, nor appreciation for his own “novels”, of which he’s dashed off about 10,000. Favouring ghosts, impressive female breasts and clunkingly heavy-handed exposition, they also feature a windcheater-wearing protagonist who seems strikingly familiar.
Invariably disclosing too much information while reading to retain any twists, Bliss engages the audience as if it were a pantomime, instructing us to yell “ruddy hell!” whenever the drama escalates in his school bullying saga. Sweetly naïve, even when his pompous self-righteousness impacts upon others, there’s a sub-plot featuring his long-suffering mother that fleshes out Bliss’s delusions of grandeur.
A significant departure from Carter’s accomplished but less distinctive musical comedy work, Bliss is rather more than the sum of his parts, capably endearing with his artless, oblivious silliness.
Until 27 August. Today 2:55pm.