John-Luke Roberts is a master, and in After Me Comes the Flood (But in French) drip splosh splash drip BLUBBP BLUBBP BLUBBPBLUBBPBLUBBP!! he is at the top of his game. What that game exactly is I’m still not entirely sure, and don’t entirely care.
Roberts performs this solo sketch show/theatre/clowning/standup masterclass with a total unbridled energy and joy. Everything is performed with meticulous attention to detail and thrown to the audience at lightening speed with impeccable timing. Often ‘fast-paced’ sketch comedy is a byword for ‘the speed meant that I didn’t really notice the unfunny bits’, but here there is nothing at all that I didn’t enjoy. Jokes are set within jokes, within jokes, within sketches and even the most minute details are as funny as that which encases them.
Roberts doesn’t like surprises – all his punchlines are laid out from the beginning and the blanks left for us to fill in. He claims to hold the audience’s metaphorical hand as we progress through the show – which seems like a joke to begin with but in hindsight is a perfect description of what happened. Anyone normally put off by the moniker ‘absurdist’ need not be afraid here.
Everything is both silly and so incredibly smart – Checkov’s Gun, meta breaks in character and ‘a surprising number of bum jokes’ are all given the same care and attention. Each as riotously funny as the last.
I still can’t be sure if this is sketch or standup or something else entirely. What I can be sure of is that John-Luke Roberts is a total powerhouse of a performer in every regard. His sketches are some of the strongest you’ll see this fringe. His one liners are some of the strongest you’ll see this fringe. His singing voice is pretty damn good. His stage presence is incomparable. The whole show really is a true pleasure.