Review: The Preacher (Brighton Fringe)

Anthony Noack writes and performs The Preacher. As “Dave “Davidson the set-up is is at first that of a typical comedy stand-up, albeit without a live audience, but quickly moves into a digital theatre performance of the Bible’s Book of Ecclesiastes.

In Noack’s world, the stand-up comic is the preacher of our time (and conversely, the preacher of Biblical times attracted the crowds the biggest comics command in today’s arenas). It is an interesting perspective that never gets fully stretched.

In many ways, this is a curious show. Even those of us brought up on television comedy are attuned to the sound of laughter from those watching. Here, with routines falling into pockets of silence, the effect is a little disconcerting.

Here, a man, a microphone, a stool, a glass of wine recall the genius of Dave Allen’s monologues, and The Preacher‘s nod to religious themes feels safely familiar. The comic slant of this preacher also hints at the Prophets in The Life of Brian. But this is not a comedy show, nor a dramatic one.

Premotional image for The Preacher, Brighton Fringe

Ecclesiastes is both in the Christian Old Testament and the Hebrew Megillot. Traditionally attributed to Solomon, the title translates in English as “preacher”, hence this show’s title. Our character comic is a Jew who presents Christian comedy for all tastes, an angle that could have been further mined to strengthen the show.

You don’t need to know the details of this Holy Book, as the themes of money, family, friendship, and more are universal. As Davidson, Noack’s delivery is easy, earnest, and evangelical, yet never shies away from the wince-inducing joke.

“Funny, yet philosophical”, The Preacher has a lot of material to keep you thinking, but I found the pauses between paragraphs and gags a little bit problematic in this format, and it was hard to maintain a close interest across an hour.

The Preacher runs on demand for the whole of the Brighton Fringe (28 May-27 June): book here.

Fringe rating: ***

LouReviews received complimentary access to review The Preacher.