Joseph Morpurgo presents his masterpiece: a boundary-smashing, 9-hour adaption of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Or is it?
Hammerhead is a post-show Q&A for a non-existent show - a hyper-elaborate stage version of Frankenstein featuring 85 characters, 12 different languages, 7 breeds of livestock, and a scene which is officially Grade listed. But as questions flood in - from the live audience, and on social media - events gradually start to spiral out of control.
Hammerhead had a sell-out run at the 2017 Edinburgh Festival Fringe, played for three sold-out weeks at London’s Soho Theatre. It was named Best Comedy show at the Brighton Fringe, toured the UK in 2018, and had its valedictory showing at the Southbank Centre.
You can watch it in full here.
★★★★ GUARDIAN - “Morpurgo’s ludicrous satire on the post-show chat is so full of invention you could watch it twice and not stop laughing”
★★★★ SCOTSMAN - “Dazzling in its scope and creativity”
★★★★ EVENING STANDARD - “Monstrously funny meta-comedy”
For Baby (2015)
Acclaimed multimedia comic Joseph Morpurgo returns with an outlandishly funny new hour of excavated vinyl and throttled hyperkonzept.
Soothing Sounds For Baby sees Morpurgo interpolate himself into an episode of BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs, chopping up real recordings of Kirsty Young to create a parallel-universe interview where nothing is quite what is seems.
Armed with an array of weird vinyl scavenged from bargain bins, Morpurgo creates high-concept sketches: a twisted take on an AA Milne audiobook, with the audience submerged under a giant duvet; a pirate radio cypher based on a golf instruction LP; and an interactive piano lesson led by Face The Music’s Joseph Cooper.
Soothing Sounds For Baby was nominated for Best Show at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards 2015, was named Best Show of 2015 by Time Out, and won three Chortle Awards. The Guardian described it as "one of the decade’s finest fringe comedy shows."
★★★★★EVENING STANDARD - “That rare thing, a high-concept, unashamedly arty production that also has entire rooms laughing”
★★★★★ TIME OUT - “A rich, multilayered comedy experience, that’s both retro and cutting edge, and keeps whirling away in your mind long after it’s finished”
★★★★ SCOTSMAN - “The UK’s foremost alchemist of “found” comedy and irreverent, cross-media mash-up humour”
It's 1983 and the buildings are burning. Joseph Morpurgo emerges, petrol-sodden, from the wreckage.
Odessa is built around a found VHS clip - an inauspicious two-minute snippet of local news from Odessa, Texas. The video's contents are nothing special: reports of a local arson; woozy Christmas ads; a few tape-damaged vox-pops.
Morpurgo uses this VHS scrap to construct a weirdo multimedia noir, in which every character in the video - from a creepy diamond salesman to a psychotic take on Father Christmas - is brought to life. The result is an anarchic multimedia tour-de-force - a narrative full of intrigue, mystery and silver pom-pom suits.
★★★★ THE TIMES - “A brilliantly ambitious and immersive piece of comic storytelling”
★★★★ THE LIST - “There are surely few one-person multi-character acts at the Fringe with as much talent to burn as Joseph Morpurgo."
★★★★★ FEST - “Thrillingly inventive flair…a haywire whodunnit with the feel of Twin Peaks and some of the best lines you’ll hear all month.”
Faux-verbatim lunacy and character comedy. Key themes: giddy triumph, exquisite misery, quiet storm, comely rocks.
Morpurgo’s debut show is a rapid-fire showcase of one-man micro-sketches, presented as “verbatim theatre” fragments. Highlights include: the FHM Fossil Calendar; a demonic possession; a game of spot-the-difference; a schoolboy’s fantastical revenge fantasy; and a game of Snake like you’ve never seen before.
Watch a clip here.
★★★★ CHORTLE - “A breakout hit…this is how you make an Edinburgh debut’
★★★★ THE SKINNY - “A startlingly witty show…a definite must see”
★★★★★ EDINBURGH FESTIVALS - “Joseph Morpurgo’s Free Fringe show is stupendous...touching, memorable and varied”
In Development (2021)
A new hour-long show is in the works for 2021.