Monday 17th January

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Jamie Demetriou. People Day.

| Comedy | 23/01/2014

Jamie Demetriou

With a character for every occasion, Jamie Demetriou is rapidly turning into the Swiss Army Knife of new wave comedy.   Somewhere inside his mind palace, there’s a fictional person that’s ideal for opening wine bottles and hooking dirt out of a horse’s hoof.  I can’t verify this for certain, but I’m pretty sure his middle name is Versatility.

For this type of comedy to work, it requires a high level of theatrical investment from the performer.  The fact that Jamie pulls this trick off not once, not twice, but five times in the space of an hour is a testament to the man’s energy levels and talent.  There are multiple layers to his creations, with each of them coming to the stage fully formed and in three dimensions.

Unlike Al Murray’s Pub Landlord, there’s a freshness about these characters that means the audience never know what to expect.  The opportunity for surprise is an ever present throughout the show, and Mr Demetriou takes full advantage of it.  The frightening ‘Nanny Pots ‘n’ Pans’ persona is a particular case in point, with many audience members stuck tantalisingly between states of joy and fear.

Like a lovechild of Coogan and Baron Cohen, Jamie has the ability to turn unbelievable concepts into something plausible.  Inhabiting them like their nothing more than tiny houses made of skin; he seems completely at ease in the caricatures he’s created.   The hat-wearing, and part-time singer, ‘Kernn’ (or Kern for short) is a delightful mix of nervous energy and exaggerated bravado.  Mixing recognisable traits with the unrecognisable, he flips our expectations like a pancake chef in a crêperie kitchen.

No two characters are the same, and there’s a genuine sense of variety every time he steps out from behind the curtain.  Even if you don’t like the one that’s currently on stage, there’s a good chance you’ll love the next one.  The final character, and fitting climax to the show, is a neglectful father awkwardly trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter.  Part David Brent, part Douglas Reynholm, part something else entirely; it’s a great way to end the night.

Now if it were up to me, and unfortunately it isn’t, I’d commission a television show in which Jamie populates a fictionalised version of London with his weird and wonderful creations.  It could be like The League of Gentlemen, but all modern and that.  With trendy editing, and synthesised intro music.  Clearly I haven’t got the whole thing figured out yet, but please do take this on board and consider it a recommendation.

‘People Day’ is on at the Soho Theatre until the 25th of January, so be quick about it for goodness sake.

By Jack Clayton (@BilboTalk).

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