A nice change from all the Shakespeare shows I’ve been seeing recently brings me to Joy, a set of three hilarious monologues performed by a great team of guys, on top of a pub in the middle of Camden.
The monologues follow the three stories of each of the characters. Michael (played by Jon Cottrell) is recently divorced, which forces him to move in with his brother. In order to cheer him up, Michael’s brother throws a party, where Michael meets someone new. The weird thing? Michael’s new love is a toaster, which leads to a hilarious monologue about the pressures of love and what it truly means. Cottrell was great, and although the piece started off slow, he was able to lift it up with a sincere tone, creating an engaging and funny performance.
The second monologue was by Roger, a Thames River police officer, who is giving a talk to school pupils about the role of the river police. Roger is a damaged soul, attacked on duty by a group of people on a sex boat, who mistake him for a stripper. This darkly comic story was absolutely hilarious, and superbly performed by Thomas Jones, with the help of a small puppet duck, which was one of my highlights.
My favourite out of the three was the story of Phil, the tube driver who is in charge of a Bakerloo line train. I found this one the most representative of London life, something I could relate to, travelling on the underground pretty much every single day. Phil spends all his time underground, and has come to conclude that no one actually cares about him or the announcements he makes. Simon Grujich was brilliant, balancing equally the comedy written into the script, but also the tragic elements of Phil’s life. It was a great performance.
The monologues do not feel static and separate at all, but flow brilliantly throughout the 60 minutes. I would definitely recommend Joy, especially those looking for a funny and short show to see on an evening out. It was great fun, with just the right amount of seriousness that adds a layer of real life into the characters.