The name of this show should tip you off. Imagine a quiz night, compèred by a fragile narcissist with a razor sharp wit and a complete disregard for the participants’ enjoyment. It’s wholly intentional and a hell of a lot of fun. It's also a refreshing take on a quiz night, but with some formatting problems that detract from the experience.
The premise is that the audience is split, upon entry, into four teams. A classic quiz night ensues, albeit with Doherty's brand of egalitarian disdain shaping the experience. At the halfway point of the show, the lowest ranked team is to be ejected. In actuality, they aren’t - a representative from each team is called on stage to answer a The Price is Right type question and the winner reorders the teams as they see fit, essentially choosing who gets the boot. This, of course, pretty much invalidates the first half of the game.
Still, kicking a quarter of the audience out at half time makes for an interesting hook, and raises the stakes if the only bar remaining open is the one inside the performance space. However, the decision to split up groups of participants across different tables was baffling. It almost ensures that once a table is ejected, the remaining members of a group of fringe-goers are left idling in the foyer.
It's clear what the intent is - to drive home the titular shame and abuse - but it merely serves to deflate the whole experience and make the second half of the show a waiting game for all involved. Doherty is, however, a skilled enough host to carry the theme of the show without splitting people up.
Despite the significant issues with format, it's still a fun show. Order some (or lots of) drinks and close out your night of FRINGE WORLD entertainment with some much-needed shame and abuse.
Tickets available from the FRINGE WORLD website.