Joseph Morpurgo is unlike other comedians. Every year he marks himself out with wildly inventive shows that keep the audience gripped from start to finish. Each show follows the same basic format: a flawed character telling his story using excellent multimedia effects, but so far they have all been wildly, inventively different in every other regard.
Hammerhead is a question and answer session with Joseph Morpurgo’s character, who has just finished a nine-hour-long performance of Frankenstein in which he plays all 85 characters through 12 different languages across multiple different venues. With prompting from these questions, Morpurgo reveals the details of this imaginary show, detail by hilarious detail.
Murpurgo’s character develops as time goes on. He begins as the self-satisfied creator of a masterpiece, but quickly gets more and more desperate as it becomes clear that this monster of a show has got the better of him. The downfall of the character may be predictable from early on, but the exquisite way in which that downfall is revealed surprises the audience with every new twist.
Morpurgo commits to, follows up and develops every single joke, reference and pun. The show is a patchwork of different characters and techniques, from scripted audience questions to extracts from the imaginary Frankenstein to stories from Morpurgo’s character’s past, delivered through several different media and with faultless timing. It’s high energy and fast-paced, and it all ties together exceptionally well. Despite all the different plotlines and characters and media, it follows a clear story and no thread is left loose.
Morpurgo casts his real-life audience in the part of his imaginary one, and several people are seamlessly recruited as question-posers in his question-and-answer session. The rest of us are all given prompts and lines, immersing us into the show and heightening our enjoyment of it.
The show is hilariously funny, but its best feature is how awe-inspiringly clever it is. Joseph Morpurgo has a talent few other comedians possess for wild, extravagant creativity. Hammerhead is already doing extremely well at the Fringe, so do whatever you can to get a ticket; and if you don't manage to get your hands on one, keep an eye on Joseph Morpurgo and what is sure to be a stellar career.