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18 April 2024, 19:00

BookTalkBookTalkBook - A surrealist literary parody

“It is brilliant… It's as if Jorge Luis Borges has written a parody of book festival events, a Russian Doll of a show that kaleidoscopes psychedelically into itself and then evaporates. The Max Ernst and Leonora Carrington of surrealist literary parody.”

— Stewart Lee

Join us for an exclusive performance of BookTalkBookTalkBook, Jo Neary’s and Ben Moor’s absurdist parody of awkward live author events, “a Russian Doll of a show that kaleidoscopes psychedelically into itself and then evaporates” (Stewart Lee).

Free Event / Pay What You Want. As BookTalkBookTalkBook is performed by working comedians we will be taking donations by cash and card (suggested donation 10€). All money raised goes to the performers. Open to all. Seating limited. Please arrive early to avoid disappointment.

Most events take place on our first floor, which is accessible by stairs. If you have any concerns about access, please don't hesitate to contact us.


Jenny Nibbingley and Burton Mastrick truly need no introduction. As two of Britain’s most published, though least read, novelists, it’s not surprising they have been invited to Shakespeare and Company. Their event’s moderator, Tim Timminey, similarly significant, should be turning up soon, but until then, Jenny and Burt agree to read sections from their books. Bad decision. As an ex-couple, their writing seems mainly to consist of ongoing digs at the other’s character and work. But is that all that is going on? Might this all be a reading from another book about a book talk going horribly wrong? Or is that also part of something else? BookTalkBookTalkBook combines a absurdist parody of awkward live author events; an exploration of artificial intelligence and the creative process; a Beckettian live theatre experience, and an experiment in the limits of patience regarding card tricks. Layer folds into layer; story reflects story; this is a piece that constantly changes direction, challenging an audience while being continually entertaining.

Funny, wise, imaginative and original; it’s a show you can’t put down.

First performed at the 2018 Port Eliot Festival, and subsequently at The Idler Festival, WOMAD, Curious Arts/Byline Festival, and the Stoke Newington Literature Festival,BookTalkBookTalkBook was shortlisted for Best Comedy at the 2021 Greater Manchester Fringe Festival.

Ben Moor has created strikingly original work for the stage and acted in numerous screen projects over a 25-year career. Three of his solo pieces were adapted into short stories, and published as More Trees to Climb by Portobello Books in 2009.

Two of Ben’s other shows are also part of this year’s Pleasance programme. Pronoun Trouble is a lecture about cartoons, friendship and lectures, and Who Here’s Lost? is a dreamlike roadtrip of the soul.

As an actor, Ben’s screen appearances include The Queen’s Gambit, Knowing Me, Knowing You, The IT Crowd and Man Down, and the films Casanova and A Monster Calls. Among numerous radio credits, he wrote and acted in Elastic Planet for BBC Radio 4, and three series of the popular sci-fi comedy Undone for BBC Radio 4Extra.

Joanna Neary produces hilarious, highly original character comedy shows in the vein of Vic Reeves and Victoria Wood. Her recent work includes Inbox - The Art of Now, and Before The Room Next Door with Michael Spicer, both for Radio 4; and TV and film credits include Darkest Hour, Miranda, Ideal, and Man Down. She has been nominated for Best Newcomer in the Edinburgh Comedy Awards, and for Best Show at The Leicester Comedy Festival. Her podcast for the Cosmic Shambles Network, Wife on Earth, is currently in its third series.

Image copyright Martyn Wilson

Martyn Wilson Blank
“Shakespeare is the happy hunting ground of all minds that have lost their balance.”

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