Edinburgh comedy hit Claudia O'Doherty at Soho Theatre

Australian's eccentric theatre-gone-wrong show The Telescope is 'an offbeat gem'

LAST UPDATED AT 08:10 ON Wed 9 Jan 2013

What you need to know
Australian-born Claudia O'Doherty's comedy show The Telescope, which was nominated for a Foster's Comedy Award at the Edinburgh Festival in 2012, is now on stage at London's Soho Theatre. Billed as a piece of "difficult theatre" about time travel and history, it's really a quirky comedy about a show gone wrong.

O'Doherty introduces a piece of theatre on a video backing track, which soon goes awry. She must then try to distract the audience from the play's bizarre events with a series of improvisations. Runs until 12 January.

What the critics like
Claudia O'Doherty is hard to resist, says Alice Jones in The Independent. The "petite Australian dynamo" karate-chops her way through an eccentric hour, part-storytelling, part-stand-up and part performance art breakdown. "It's whimsy of the most kick-ass kind."

O'Doherty's delivery is constantly amusing, says Mark Monahan in the Daily Telegraph. She knows exactly what she's doing: "demolishing theatrical and character-comedy conventions and pretensions in the very freshest and oddest way". It's "an offbeat gem."

The Telescope is a "mad, brilliantly inventive hour", says Time Out. O'Doherty's tale of suicidal monks, computer hackers and time travel gone wrong is "delightfully offbeat and packed with laughs". So-called "difficult theatre" has "never been so funny".

What they don't like
It's attractively loopy and well thought-through but O'Doherty's act is just a goofy joke, says Brian Logan in The Guardian. While some see psychological undercurrents to the show, it's really just whimsy. Still, O'Doherty is one of comedy's true originals and an "antidote to straight standup". · 

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