LAURA PATERSON enjoys a late-night, one-man sketch series at the ADC

ADC ADC lateshow ADC theatre cambridge Cambridge Acting Comedy James Bloor Sketch Split

5th – 7th Feb, ADC, 11pm, £6/£7

James Bloor’s one-man comedy show provides a believable, original and hilarious snapshot of modern life.

Both written and performed by James Bloor, SPLIT is a collection of several humorous sketches of, not necessarily stereotypes, but definitely recognisable characters from the everyday. From the exasperated mother trying to get her son out of bed in the morning, to the oh-so-camp hairdresser nattering on about a holiday in Turkey, we witness Bloor unpick and exaggerate our own daily lives.

His individual tableaus build on each other’s humour, with a different, but no less comical, element of modern existence dissected every time. The diversity of roles included, which consist of teenagers, adults and the elderly, demonstrate Bloor’s versatility and skill as an actor: I’m left wondering what Bloor is like in reality. What is perhaps most impressive is the natural transition between each sketch. At times there is no pause between scenes, yet the audience knows instantly when Bloor has changed from a menopausal woman to a phone-addicted youth because of his perceptive body language or over-the-top accents.

Even more admirable is the unity maintained between the scenes by the use of references and parallel plots that weave these individual storylines together. We witness a character experience a calamitous trip to the barbers only to watch a hairdresser perform a disastrous haircut a few scenes later, concluding the story. A slight underlying theme of loneliness also unites these hyperbolic and often silly incidents, which adds a dimension of tragicomedy to the light-hearted play and provides further insight into our society.

Witty and insightful sketches from a talented actor

The set is minimal, with one man and a chair forming the sole focus of this hour-long production. Nevertheless Boor’s charisma and larger-than-life characters effortlessly fill the stage, painting each setting without requirement for physical props or supporting actors.

Like any good comedian, Bloor worked with the audience of the night to deliver the punch line at just the right moment. He sustained continual laughs and occasional applause throughout the show. Even the technical difficulties at the start managed to provide a source of near hilarity, although this says more about the enthusiastic audience than the production.

Nevertheless a couple of gags fell a little short of the mark. A slightly mystifying physical theatre-style sketch (was it a door?) managed to earn some nervous titters. There were a few other slightly absurd moments and it sometimes seemed the audience was laughing in disbelief rather than true amusement. Considering it was the late show, Bloor’s wit in these instances might have gone beyond my mental capacity. And they say true genius is just one step away from madness.

Highly enjoyable, wholly witty, SPLIT proves Bloor is one to watch.