Wilkinson timed his interactions with the voice-over to perfection and had the audience in stitches in secondsDavid Craig

Henry Wilkinson: See Me at Lunch! is an entertaining one-man character comedy based in a lunchtime detention for the entirety of Year 9. The premise is clever, with the audience playing the year 9 students and Wilkinson the role of the four different teachers tasked with taking the lunch-long detention: Ms Ratchett the Head of Discipline, the librarian, Trevor the Photographer and Mr Mason the Headteacher. This structure lends itself well to distinct scenes, meaning that the audience are kept on their toes, but also allowing for participation in ways I have never witnessed before. Wilkinson’s comedy is creative and unique, however my highest praise for him would have to be his brilliant relatability–anyone who has ever been to school is practically obligated to enjoy this show. Furthermore, Wilkinson’s ability to create multiple different characters is impressive, although I felt there could have been more variety between the different teachers he presented, given the show was marketed as a character comedy. For example, he could have varied his voice and body characterisation more, although he did use costume very well.

Wilkinson continually draws the audience in, combining funny one-liners with tantalising mentions of why exactly the Year 9s are in detention.

The opening of the show is incredibly strong, using a dramatic voice-over and lighting to introduce Ms Ratchett. Wilkinson timed his interactions with the voice-over to perfection and had the audience in stitches in seconds. In fact, voice-over was used continually throughout the show, mostly to good effect. It was certainly a clever idea to use it to cover his character changes, and I really enjoyed the one involving the Railway Children; however, the later voice-overs felt too long and slowed the pace of the show, making it feel clunky in parts.

Wilkinson continually draws the audience in, combining funny one-liners with tantalising mentions of why exactly the Year 9s are in detention. He is particularly good at leading the audience’s expectations in one direction before swerving the joke in an entirely different one. He is rude and cheeky while never breaking character and drops punch-lines with a perfect poker face. However, the main focus of the show is that of audience participation. Wilkinson certainly knows what he is doing here. He has a true talent for getting everyone on board and bouncing off their responses. The highlight of the audience participation for me was the school photo sketch, due to its originality, hilarity, and perfect reminiscence of school photo day. 

Another incredibly relatable scene was Mr Mason telling the story of James – the young boy who leant too far back on his chair. This is the story is known by school children world-wide, but Wilkinson takes it to extremes in an absurd dramatic monologue. He had the audience laughing all the way through mainly due to the fact that we genuinely felt this could be a story our teachers would tell us to stop us from leaning back in our chairs.  


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The only scene I felt was a weak-link was the librarian scene. The audience participation here felt somewhat awkward and forced, and the scene itself went on for far too long. Perhaps this was because a lot of the show was based on audience participation, so there were times when it felt almost tiring to be in the audience. Maybe Wilkinson should consider including more self-sufficient material, as the strong opening clearly demonstrates his stage presence and talent.

Overall, Wilkinson is quick-witted and enjoyable to watch. He is relatable, creative and experienced, using many aspects of the stage to really enhance his performance, and it is clear that he has put a lot of work into making See Me at Lunch!. I suppose the only thing I was left wanting more of was variety – both in character and style of scene – I felt it needed to be bigger and better for the Fringe in order to compete with the many other one-man comedy shows that exist here. That being said, I would still recommend seeing this for a bit of fun midday.

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