The venue looks like a school hall, and the set is pretty ramshackle. The production was running late and the venue was fairly unsure about how to deal with that. But for all that, I left How to… quite charmed.
Some of the gags were the obvious ones that everyone makes about London – some that are true (it is overpriced and we are a bit too weirdly obsessed with the latest thing) some that aren’t (London isn’t less friendly than anywhere else, there are just lots of us). Some though were genuinely innovative and funny. I laughed lots and loudly.
Led by the host character Matt Cockney we follow a young woman – Alex – as she arrives in London for Drama School and learns how to become a Londoner. We also meet Alex’s future – more cynical – self and the three of them teach us the rules of living in the city.
It sometimes felt like a show for people who wish they hadn’t moved to London rather than a show for those of us who have loved the city since we were born here. Its tongue is firmly in its cheek, but for all that there was never that level of nastiness you sometimes get directed at the city.
There was a good mix of sight gags, crude gags and thoughtful funniness. The use of Boris Johnson as a character was interesting, though felt a little dated as he hasn’t been mayor for some time now, and many of us would like to forget that ever happened!
How to be a Londoner in an Hour is a lovely, charming piece of fringe frippery. And its no worse for knowing what it is and delivering on it.