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Tim Clare: How to Be a Leader

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
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When skilled comedians tackle serious topics, the results can be more challenging and thought-provoking than most theatre companies create. Laughter offers huge possibilities for the comedian to engage audiences with new ideas. So I had high hopes for Tim Clare’s investigation into the nature of political and social leadership. Unfortunately, he does not deliver the goods.

The comedy is pedestrian, depending on props, sound effects and powerpoint-style presentations to back up inoffensive but uninspiring gags. Beginning with some scraps of pop psychology, the show quickly meanders away from any point. Clare sets up a promising structure, following the apparent rules for strong leadership; but by his own admission this soon peters out, replaced by a lengthy email exchange with “The Spell Lady” about magical solutions for power, before a bizarre rap finale in which he hip-hops through famous female leaders.

I saw the show on a tough night, with some particularly drunken audience members heckling even before he came on stage; and Clare struggled with this hazard of his late time slot. He will no doubt sharpen as the run develops, and the intentions here are good; but ultimately the ideas are too few.

- Will Young


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