How Far is Lunch (Etcetera Theatre)

Marc Blake’s tales of being a tour guide for brash and wealthy Americans becomes a show which mines those experiences for comedy potential in yesterday’s final visit to the Camden Fringe.

Publicity flyer for How Far is Lunch

Utilising a table, laptop, presentation screen, and a chair, Blake’s show takes the form of telling a rather nice new tour group (us, the audience) about the perks of having a lanyard, the stress of no sleep, bad tippers, scrapping group leaders, and honesty bars, illustrating the trip from Ireland’s Shannon to Paris via Dublin, Wales, Scotland, and London (“they went to Wicked, I went to a bar”).

From airport pick-up to coach tours, boat trips, and the sleeper train, Blake’s charges – Jamie, macho and rather dumb: Gail, rather sweet; Michelle, dozy and tight-fisted – manoevere their groups to tourist hotspots which would bore the most steely of tour operators.

Funny, filled with character, and occasionally interactive, How Far is Lunch benefits from Blake’s engaging persona, honed from all those years on the road being nice to clients, matey with coach drivers and other tour guides, and occasionally having a spare hour of cursing and the occasional flicker of escape from those irritating Yanks!

I felt the show may benefit from a bit if a trim to tighten its focus, but there’s definite potential here for an hour will will resonate with anyone who has travelled with, or in close proximity to, a tour group like the one described, and Blake’s good humour throughout is infectious.

How Far is Lunch runs at the Etcetera Theatre until the 18th August.