One man show Doris Day Can Fuck Off has a very brave and interesting concept behind it.
Imagine a world in which every line we spoke was sung. In fact - imagine you are starring in your own musical but - no-one is answering back. Greg McLaren records peoples reactions to him when he sings requests - everything from "Where in this shopping centre can I sing?" (the answer is delivered in song by a very game security assistant) to "Can I have some batteries?" So far, so camp - only it isn't and that's a shame as it could be far funnier as a result.
McLaren is a very engaging and energetic performer and it's very difficult for an audience member not to warm to him. Good job really because there are several ice breaker elements to the show - where you are expected to sing your name. This was not too difficult on the night I attended, as there were very few people there, as England were playing Sweden.
This relentless performer exposes a great deal about the human psyche. We sit arms folded watching comedy shows thinking 'make me laugh' - yet when we are asked to be involved we can cope to a certain extent as it often feels like an 'out of body' experience but being asked to sing in a world populated with programmes such as X Factor, The Voice and American Idol makes us feel judged and uncomfortable.
The entire show is sung and although this is very unique and fits in with the 'experiment' that McClaren is talking (singing) us through, it does start to become grating after a while. After all, even Rachel from Glee speaks when she isn't hitting the high notes - trying desperately to impress Mr Schu.
Doris Day Can Fuck Off is off the wall and at times incredibly funny. But with the title and the imagery that goes with it, I cannot help but think that audiences go in expecting a camp extravaganza, where they are the co-stars. Instead they get a mini musical featuring a crazy yet endearing guy and the people of Birmingham.
Seeing these participants would help make the narrative flow a great deal. As often McClaren is relgated to 'listener in the dark', which leaves the audience in the same place. Also some of the more interesting stories are sidelined so that Greg can return to the singing narrator role. This means that the show feels longer than an hout at times.
Flawed yet really interesting and original with elements of navel gazing - Doris Day Can Fuck Off is one of the shows that you admire and enjoy but it meanders off course too often to be be brilliant.