The Cambridge Geek

My Obsession

[UPDATE - 11th July 2019]: Well, I thought it was a one-off, but it would seem I was wrong. What was evidently a cheeky pilot is now back for a short two-part series, with a bit more development of Danny and Sheryl's relationship and a rather wider cast.

They've moved on somewhat from their turbulent first meeting in Danny's hotel room, with the series opening with Danny sticking his mouth through Sheryl's letterbox (not a euphemism). But things have also gone downhill, with Sheryl having not brought her fantastical devotion to his shows recently, after she realised the truth of "never meet your heroes". (That first scene also managed to get an "awww" out of the audience, which is more than a bit impressive for a sitcom.)

Still, a bit of sweet-talking later (by which I mean comedic ranting), they're back on the same page and enjoying romantic dinners, magic acts, and threesomes in lay-bys. And they get a bit of outside influence in the form of additional characters, my favourite of which is probably Danny's priest, to whom he confesses a few of his more salacious sins.

The appeal of this is still Webster's sharply written and combative dialogue, running very much in the vein of Katherine Parkinson and Frank Skinner's "Don't Start", which had a couple always competing to come out on top. This actually goes little deeper than that, but you'll have to listen to find out how.

I recommend you do.

[ORIGINAL - 12th April 2018]: A one-off two hander, starrring Paul Merton as Danny Heywood and Suki Webster as Sheryl, this is a quick piece about a popular comedian and the slightly over-enthusiastic stalker who decides to visit him in his room one night.

Despite starting rather shakily, with a certain amount of stilted delivery, this soon morphs into a feast of silliness, with Merton doing his classic big-headed ego maniacal smartmouth, balanced by the rather more sincere, though playing simple, Webster.

It's primarily a comedy piece, though makes the occasional attempt to offer a little insight into the sometimes difficult fan/hero relationship, and what expectations that can put on both ends. This does potentially ring a little true to Merton's background (in a similar manner to Marcus Brigstocke's The Red, though here he's playing down a bit much, given he can reasonably be described as "successful".

And you do have to wonder how many of the facts that the encyclopaedic Sheryl has memorised apply to Merton's real life.

The comedy comes not from the situation though, but the dialogue. This is two actors who can throw a line into the air, volley, catch and return with class and elan. The conversation is sparky, but not afraid to break into the absurd chasing a laugh. The high point is the two pretending to be their own imaginary siblings, one of whom is French, but can only speak GCSE French, and the other is the cool brother he always wanted to be. Also, there are double entendres shooting off everywhere.

"Did you come here to have sex with me?" "Primarily, no."

One major grouse is the live audience. Pretty sure the piece would have stood perfectly well without the laugh track (see Conversations from a Long Marriage to prove that). Nowhere near stopping me enjoying it though.

An absolute corker that kept me tickled.

Score 5

Tagged: Radio Comedy Two hander Sitcom Arts/Culture