John-Luke Roberts: Stdad Up

★★★★
comedy review | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 12 Aug 2015

You'll know what to expect from Stdad Up if you've seen John-Luke Roberts before. It's pretty much a given that he'll read insults off note cards, have a lever-operated mouth on a stick lip sync to pop music, and insist members of the audience debase him on stage. Here he adds public nudity to his arsenal and reprises many of the innovations from last year's effort, most notably shouting into a mirror.

This is the performer's 'dead dad' show. At once elusive and rawly honest, it sees him test the limits of our sympathy, while blurring the line between fact and fiction. He suggests a strained relationship with a man prone to violent outbursts, but later concedes that his father's generosity and support have proven immensely valuable to the development of his craft.

Resurrecting his parent by donning a suit stuffed with balloons and chewing on an pair of fake teeth, Roberts proceeds to deliver a standup set in a mock Liverpudlian brogue. Bitterly reciting his father's favourite dinner party quips, he pays disrespectful tribute to a presumably irritating man. If his grieving process makes us feel uncomfortable, it could well be because of the comedian's balanced honestly. We're so used to eulogising the dead that to speak of them as we do in life seems like a moral transgression. This is anything but a self-serving display of growth and understanding.