Maybe I'm just not a Trevor Griffiths fan, because I wasn't crazy about A New World and his most famous play, Comedians, didn't do it for me either: In the 1970s, six wannabe comedians are taking a night class in comedy by a former minor celebrity of the circuit (Matthew Kelly.) It's the last night of the course, and they're going to a local club to perform their material in front of a talent scout (Keith Allen.) The two men have very different opinions about comedy and as the acts try to work out who they want to please we get an insight into the nastiness that can underlie some comedy. It's a rather brutal play and Sean Holmes' production is perfectly acted (the cast has a lot of familiar faces like Mark Benton, Reece Shearsmith and Kulvinder Ghir, while the central role of Gethin is played by David Dawson as variously camp, witty and even rather disturbing) but as it's no longer the seventies and you can't see racist comedy on prime time TV, the harshness of the play doesn't carry the political punch it once did, and for me at least all that was left was a rather uncomfortable evening.
Comedians by Trevor Griffiths is booking until the 14th of November at the Lyric Hammersmith.