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Monday in Edinburgh: Richard Herring and Elizabeth R Aug 20

I squeezed in two shows after getting to Edinburgh on Monday afternoon.

“I’d like to meet Gandhi. I think we’d have a lot to share”

The Headmaster’s Son is Richard Herring’s latest stand-up and, as the title suggests, takes as its theme his school years as the son of the headmaster. Very much in the style of his last show, The Headmaster’s Son takes a bit of time to get going, and peters off a little towards the end. It was educational though: some of his tales of school were sufficiently similar to my own that I figure there are certain traits that all geeky kids end up exhibiting.

Despite some very funny parts (several courtesy of his teenage diary) and although it’s worth seeing, this isn’t Richard Herring’s best Edinburgh show. Plus, he claimed to be four years old when ABBA won Eurovision while also telling us he’s 41 now, two facts which distracted me by their mutual exclusivity.

“Queens like poppers”

The comic play Elizabeth & Raleigh: Late But Live is written by Stewart Lee and stars Miles Jupp as Sir Walter Raleigh and Simon Munnery as Elizabeth I – the latter an amusing enough idea even before he enters the hall in full Elizabeth get-up and steamrolls through the audience because “queens only move in straight lines”.

Jupp’s Raleigh was an endearing and entertaining host, but the show is stolen by Munnery, in his pale slap and frightful wig. One set of jokes (possibly a League Against Tedium standard) I recognised from his Lee-directed BBC show Attention Scum! – but that’s not a criticism as they deserved another airing. Munnery embellished Lee’s script with various ad libs, setting both the audience and his co-star giggling.

With some brilliantly silly moments and an inventively staged recreation of the Spanish Armada, this show is highly recommended.

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