By his own confession, Richard Herring is a dick. A lazy, needy, Guitar Hero-playing dick. But why? In this show, he rifles through his childhood memories in order to find out what could have possibly made him turn out like this. The working hypothesis: that his dad was his school headmaster.
Surely the embarrassment of the whole school knowing that Rich was the swatty son of the headmaster would have a lasting effect; that the repression of such trauma would have to come to the surface in some form.
Apparently not. Rich’s dad was respected and adored by everyone in the school and in the local community. Rich, on the other hand, was a dick from day one: always the conformist, always childish, always spouting half-baked political ideas and never taking off his school blazer. It turns out that he has nobody to blame but himself.
Thankfully his being a dick only adds to this show. His pedantic ramblings and penchant for playing out a homespun theory to the nth degree has always been an important part of his stage persona.
Last year in these very pages I wrote, “how he’ll top Oh Fuck I’m 40� is anyone’s guess but I imagine that he’ll implode somehow like a supermassive star finally inverting and turning into a black hole”.
This has happened. Gone are the midnight-black ideas and the pushing of boundaries to a feverpitch. In their place is a rather lovely piece about love, honesty, embracing life and the struggles of growing up.
There’s still some stuff in there about “wanking off paedophiles” though. Well, it wouldn’t be Richard Herring without at least one thing to tempt you into walking out in disgrace.
The Headmaster’s Son is a top-notch performance full of winding digressions, sweet realisations and charming confessions. Five stars et cetera.