Meditation Ruined My Life is a one-man show telling the tale of how comedian, Sam Brady, trained to be a Buddhist monk - and failed miserably. In the pre-show publicity he promises us a very unique comedy, an enthralling story, and lots of laughs. Boasting of the five star reviews for his previous fringe shows on the posters, it appears that we are about to be treated to a great show.
Set in a small, stuffy theatre with a stale smell of incense, the first few members of the audience are seated on some rickety wooden chairs with the rest of the audience left to shuffle in and find a space at the back, fanning themselves with the shows fliers to try and alleviate the intense heat in the room. The lights dim, the show starts and we are presented with stand-up comedian, Brady.
He opens the show by introducing himself, and then, randomly picking out members of the audience, he encourages them to introduce themselves as well. Within just a few moments there is tension in the room, as offence is taken to some of the jokes made at the expense of audience members, however the show goes on.
After a rather long story of his desolate marriage festering on the rocks and the fact that he is a man who has lost his identity but finds comfort in his material possessions, he finally tells us how he found solace in Buddhism. He next shows us a slideshow of some ladies meditating, choosing to add a commentary in which he makes fun of them and tells quite a few crude jokes about them as well.
His story continues as he immerses himself into a tee-total regime of monk ordination training. The transition from high powered, cut-throat, career driven lifestyle to a life where ambition is almost frowned upon leads Brady into situations about which any Buddhist would have nightmares.
Overall the story could be so interesting, however the audience are not laughing at the few jokes there are, and you can cut the tension in the room with a knife as the Buddhists present take offence at the incredibly tactless jokes being made about their religion. When the room falls silent it is possible to hear the creaking of chairs as the audience fidgets, not just through discomfort but also out of pure boredom.
At the interval a few people walk out and don’t return for the second half. The show is a real let down as the fliers show that Brady has previously had some great reviews, but maybe he was just having an off night. Sadly we definitely did not leave “exhausted from laughter” as promised, exhausted from tedium more like!