Anthony Noack’s show uses the idea of a stand up comedy show to offer a performance of the Biblical Book of Ecclesiastes to examine how modern performance can be compared with ancient preaching.
Written and performed by Anthony Noack, this is certainly a show that doesn’t fit into any conventional category – which makes it difficult to review – particularly when it combines being performance of the Hebrew’s Bible book of Ecclesiastes styled in the form of a stand up comedy show.
David ‘Dave’ Davidson is struggling to keep up the momentum in his show with no audiences and accompanied only by a glass of wine, he is soon exploring theological insights with comedy and comparing performance and preaching in ways that keeps the surprises coming.
Running at just an hour, it has to be said I felt as though the show was all over the place, never really knowing who its audience is or what it really trying to say that can make for a frustrating watch – particularly with a character at the centre who we never really get to know. It is a real shame because the concept is such a distinctive one for a fringe show and looked set to explore a diverse range of subjects with great insight.
This being said, Noack does manage to use comedy effectively to explore religion and theological ideas without getting too over the top to keep it accessible to people, getting the balance between thoughtfulness and good humour just right. It is certainly a subtle piece of digital theatre that shows ambition in an understated way and will certainly intrigue those who are looking for something unique as part of the Brighton Fringe.
However, Noack’s performance at the centre of it all is certainly thoughtful and engaging. Speaking directly to the audience at all times, it comes across as though we are only skimming the surface of what the character David is really like. This element of mystery of the character works well for ensuring that it is the themes underpinning the show shine through more than the character – it is certainly not a show about character rather than about ideas and thoughts.
Overall, The Preacher is certainly a distinctive show with interesting ideas – but the problem is that it covers so much ground in terms of themes in the space of an hour, particularly in the way in which it jumps around, that can make it really difficult to truly appreciate.
By Emma Clarendon
The Preacher is being streamed as part of the Brighton Fringe from the 28th May until the 27th June.