WONDERDRUG | London, King’s Head

This one-person show about cystic fibrosis is the kind of theatre that makes us grateful to be alive, and for the air we breathe. Writer-performer Charlie Merriman gives us a profound insight into how the Covid-19 pandemic affected him and others with complex health needs; through the medium of madcap, theatrical whimsy.

Never has the adage, “If you don’t entertain them, they won’t listen,” been so true. What really defines this show is its humour, and it is through our laughter that we gain a newfound understanding of the myriad ways a serious health condition can affect somebody.

Sometimes the humour is dark, like the disembodied announcer that invites Charlie to spend his thirty minutes wait time “contemplating your own mortality”. Sometimes the humour is extremely silly, like a giant syringe puppet show of “The Vex Factor” in which various antibiotics battle for votes by belting out eighties tunes.

Far from your typically static, one-man-moaning-on-a-chair show, this is a physical whirlwind, with all manner of prop humour and fantasy sequences. But Merriman makes it all look effortless. The serious moments are well-placed, and Merriman is just as believable playing a broken man in a psychologist’s office as he is improvising off audience’s suggestions about what excuse to tell his Zoom date.

Playing at the King’s Head Theatre 28 February – 12 March 2023.

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