Venue: The Lowry
Where: Salford

The suicide rate goes up over the Festive season. In that respect David Hoyle’s Christmas Club is topical – but boy, is it depressing! Hoyle relentlessly explores the bleaker side of life with his audience and turns the evening into a kind of negative group therapy session. He goes so far as to wonder if it will conclude in a mass suicide pact. He does, however, offer some hope- that the audience will generate enough positive vibes to see us into the New Year.

For all his flamboyance David Hoyle is a dour performer and his voice lacks inflection. Guest poet Gerry Potter has greater stage presence and is able to tread the fine line between material that is challenging and provocative and that which is just offensive. Hoyle lacks this distinction and, as the evening progresses, slides into psychobabble and material intended just to shock. The only thing more distasteful than his remarks on rape is that some of the audience find them amusing.  
 
You have to admire Hoyle for performing such powerful and personal material in public but at the same time wish that he would work with a decent director to streamline the show and give it greater brevity and more focus.

- Dave Cunningham