Greg Wohead: Comeback Special at Shoreditch Town HallCultureTheatre
Comeback Special is either embarrassing insanity or pure genius – it’s hard to tell which. Greg Wohead is either one of the great theatrical minds of our time, or he’s going through a crazed nervous breakdown.
Wohead takes to the stage to sort of re-enact Elvis Presley’s 1968 comeback show. It’s a peculiar commentary of the event, from the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s perspective, as played by Greg Wohead. The whole thing is then pulled up through itself to the present day where Greg Wohead, as played by Greg Wohead, watches and decides to re-enact the show.
Beginning with totally deadpan diction, Wohead creates a lot of humour as he sets the scene, describing himself and his surroundings. The setting is mostly told through description; there are nearly no set pieces aside from the odd chair and no costumes or makeup. And yet, Wohead still manages to pull the audience into his dreamlike world.
Music starts to build, projections around the stage show clips of Elvis and Wohead gradually gets more and more active and passionate. What starts as a bizarre man stood on stage asking the audience to believe he’s wearing a leather jacket slowly becomes an epic crescendo of Elvis.
It’s both enjoyable and painful to watch., though “watch” isn’t the right word – it’s more like participating. The audience participates in Wohead’s insanity simply by being there, enabling him, but also must participate in the show itself. Throughout, viewers are pointed at, their clothes and actions described as if they were fans at Elvis’ 1968 show. This culminates in almost every single audience member being asked to perform (those that dislike audience participation should avoid the front rows if not the entire show). At first it’s cringe-worthy, embarrassing and uncomfortable, but eventually becomes funny and enjoyable once the entire crowd is performing different actions and the story comes together.
Comeback Special is weird. Completely, ridiculously and mind-bogglingly weird. There’s no denying that it’s well written and well performed, but why? Why create this? Why watch this? Is this brilliance or stupidity? Or both?
Greg Wohead: Comeback Special is on at Shoreditch Town Hall from 22nd until 26th March 2016, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch the trailer for the production here: