Seven Years in the Bathroom is the latest high-concept show from comedian Alex Horne, who is trying to help us see the funny side of life by distilling every aspect of it down to a frantic 60 minutes.
This show is the polar opposite of the whimsical storytelling style that is currently so prevalent on the stand-up circuit. After a brief introduction, a huge analogue clock is set ticking relentlessly on the big screen, each segment representing a portion of the 79 years of the average man’s life.
The concept is that Horne will attempt to explain to us just how long we spend on each of the activities we partake in throughout our lives before the countdown finishes. So the one year of our lives spent looking in the mirror can only be discussed for 45 seconds, the four years we spend in the car gets 3 minutes, while the total of five days we spend in museums barely warrants a mention.
Using a vast array of props squeezed on to the tiny stage he finds innovative and fun ways to illustrate each of these segments. Audience participation plays a large part in the show but, luckily, Horne is so enthusiastic and amiable that the audience are mostly willing to enter into the spirit of things.
There are many highlights, but particularly memorable are his self-defeating attempts to illustrate time spent eating using a Rustlers burger and his gentle berating of the volunteer who is tidying the stage to represent time spent doing housework.
As multimedia presenter on BBC4’s tongue-in-cheek quiz show, We Need Answers, and with a history of using Powerpoint extensively in previous shows, it is no surprise that this show is heavily reliant on technology. But despite the complexity everything works seamlessly, expertly crafted to appear like the show is about to descend into chaos but so well-rehearsed and slick that it never does.
Although there are few belly laughs on offer, this is a precise and entertaining set piece packed with surreal touches and thought-provoking statistics that is consistently amusing and charming throughout.