“Starring Robert Llewellyn”, which is written on the spine of the DVD, doesn’t even begin to cover it. WomanWizard was also written, directed, produced, performed and encoded by our favourite mechanoid.
Having pre-ordered the DVD a long time ago at Dimension Jump, it arrived this morning, addressed to someone called Ian Symons. Either Robert can’t read, or my handwriting is simply awful. From a technical point of view, it’s not a very good DVD, but then, that’s understandable. The picture is often grainy, with very little detail coming across. It appears that it was mainly shot on camcorders, which naturally leads to poor picture quality. The sound isn’t much better; there’s a lot of echoes, which is probably what the audience on the night would have heard. Had this been a commercial release, I’d be livid; but as it was done entirely by one man, it’s a very good effort.
Technical problems aside, the show is superb. The humour is observational, with jokes about ‘technogeekery’ and the differences between the genders. This is hardly ground-breaking stuff, but Robert pulls it off very well. Not only are his observations mainly true, they’re also very funny. The format of the show, a comedy presentation, lends itself well to the material, and it’s a technique that Robert has used before, for The Reconstructed Heart, ten years previously. This format shows Robert at his best, as he is able to subvert what we expect from a lecture into something hilarious.
The formula of the show is simple – what happens when you feed everyday relationship problems into a computer? The results are hilarious, with reactions such as “pack your bags and call your lawyer, you pin-dicked nobody” and “Fatal Relationship Error – restart your computer”. There are a lot of digs at Microsoft, to which I heartily approve, and details of a lot of similar packages (ManWizard, ChildWizard, TeenWizard) are discussed. Robert takes the theme of self-improving computer programmes and runs with it, resulting in some great gags.
Another theme of WomanWizard is rudeness, which is continued from Robert’s novels. For example, there is a picture representing an erect penis on the spine of the DVD. There are more aroused members throughout the show; whenever someone walks in on a man in the bath, or the vicar comes round. The naughtiness is funny though; like the “perhaps your lower back pain is caused by the sheer weight of your cock” flattery, and the indispensible What The Fuck PC Should I Buy Now? magazine.
Something else that comes across in the DVD is Robert’s attention to detail. There are gags everywhere, including in the blurb: “It’s just like being there! Only not quite, because I was sitting in my house, on my own, watching it on TV.” Robert’s production company, Filthy Haired Pictures, is of course a reference to his excellent autobiography Thin He Was, And Filthy Haired, which itself was a reference to a comic shop Robert knew. Best of all though is the spoof copyright notice, which includes warnings such as: “If you even watch the DVD, you are breaking every known law in the universe”.
As with most of the rest of the site, you could say that the high level of praise for this DVD is only due to Robert’s Red Dwarf connections, but that is not the case. It’s an excellent show, and, despite the technical problems, I strongly advise you to order it – it’s only £12.