Comedian John Kearns, Sight Gags for Perverts – reviews

Jan 15, 2014

Rising comedy star brings his 'beautifully bonkers' Edinburgh hit show to London

What you need to know
After wowing critics at the 2013 Edinburgh Festival, John Kearns' has brought his hit show Sight Gags for Perverts to the Soho Theatre, London. Sight Gags, Kearns's first solo show at the fringe won him the 2013 Edinburgh Comedy Award for Best Newcomer.

Kearns took the show's title from a critic's description of Stanley Kubrick's Dr Strangelove upon its release. He uses props including a wig, false teeth, and a dress in his absurdist storytelling routine, which covers everything from Bruce Springsteen and heartbreak, to hotel bathrooms and the Berlin Zoo. Runs until 31 January.

What the critics like
John Kearns's best newcomer award for his "ambitious mix of surreal character comedy, idiosyncratic storytelling and audience participation" was hugely deserved, says James Kettle in The Guardian. Now a wider audience gets the chance to see the remarkable stuff he's got in his locker.

Kearns is "a masterful absurdist", says Ben Williams in Time Out. A monk's wig, false teeth and a deflated horse costume make his screechy self-loathing all the more ridiculous - he's a true comedy original.    

Kearns's perfect oddball persona and potent mix of excellent gags, playful audience interaction and self-deprecating nonsense with masterful timing is comedy gold, says Steve Bennett on Chortle. Sight Gags is "a beautifully bonkers offering".

What they don't like
Critics have very little negative to say about Kearns's show. In The Independent Alice Jones notes that the show "looks like chaos" but Kearns is "just about in control". There are hints of Gene Wilder, mixed with the anarchic spirit of Harry Hill and the properly funny bones of Tommy Cooper.

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