Robert Wringham - You Are Nothing
- Brian Donaldson
- 25 June 2012
Entertaining tale of cult 90s comedy troupe recounted by ex-member
Normally, a book’s epigraph either gives us a sense of the diverse elements to its story or hints at something brilliant inside. With ‘Thee fyrst and onlie hystorie of Cluub Zarathustra’, Robert Wringham has opted to make the comedy outfit sound absolutely rubbish. Damning mid-90s quotes from a couple of reviews are salved marginally by Stewart Lee’s declaration that his participation in the Dadaist cabaret troupe led by Simon Munnery was ‘the ultimate wasted opportunity’.
The roll call of Zarathustrians is highly impressive (Kevin Eldon, Julian Barratt, Graham Linehan, Sally Phillips and Johnny Vegas all appeared at some point) and Wringham works hard to put the story into its full 90s comedy context. But often he dips into the bleeding obvious: ‘the experimental show sometimes worked and sometimes failed’ ignores the fact that a show which worked every time probably wouldn’t have been experimental. And given his early confession here, it’s unclear whether a better book might have been written by someone who actually saw Cluub Zarathustra in action.