Freelance writer Siobhan Argent writes…

After the success of his show A Study in Scarlet (A Study Of) last year, Rob Lloyd’s Who, Me has continued the fictional-character exposition with an exhibition on obsession. Lloyd is a self-confessed Who fanatic, indoctrinated in his early uni years and a helpless contributor to the BBC’s cash-cow ever since.

By putting his Doctor Who obsession on trial, Lloyd gives his audience the gift of a super-nerd, one who renders all other nerds far less socially inept by comparison. Lloyd is someone so devoted to the Who franchise that he replicated an early Who velvet suit in his uni days, remained obsessive about the series during the ‘dark years’ of the nineties for Who fans, and stole 20 VHS cassettes of Dr. Who without even legitimately stealing them.

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Lloyd is evidently comfortable on stage, cavorting about in his Converse sneakers and flitting from the early years of his Who-obssession to a parade of modern-day convention photos, with Lloyd bearing Tennant-style haircut and brown trench coat. Lloyd even does do a bang-up job with the David Tennant-style raised eyebrow. And yes, Rob Lloyd does look startlingly like Tennant, as Lloyd reminds us himself, but I mention this under the threat of being included in Lloyd’s show, as it seems to be an overwhelmingly popular byline for his Who, Me reviews.

In terms of structure, it’s clear Lloyd has carefully considered layout and his wide-ranging audience; while you can’t be a Doctor Who virgin if you want to comprehend the show, you can be an occasional watcher and still pick up most of the references. The expositional elements of Who, Me do make it an initial drag; too much time is spent setting up the imaginary courtroom and pseudo-trial, while presenting the audience with various elements that will structure the rest of the show.

Oddly enough the middle section is the most entertaining; as Lloyd opens and ends with structured sequences designed to wrap up Who, Me in a neat little package, it’s only really in the belly of the beast that the more off-the-cuff elements of the show are allowed out to play.

Incidentally, Who, Me is not actually centred on Doctor Who. It is, instead, a very rich format for one man to present an expose on his own nerdiness. While it can sometimes be understandably self-centred, Who, Me generally comes across as one man’s warm-hearted token of affection for a series and the fanatics who follow it, much to the detriment of their own pop-culture social mobility. Not that I’d know anyone with that kind of problem. Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to get back to my ninth reading of Jane Austen…

Rob Lloyd in Who, Me is on at the Melbourne Fringe Festival at 8pm most nights until October 8th at the North Melbourne Town Hall.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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