What a story. Matt Reed’s fascinating true-life yarn is raw, gripping, relevant and about something too few people take seriously. In fact, he’s obviously still coping with how it’s emotionally impacted his life, and that’s partly why ‘Stalked’ isn’t quite as powerful as it could be.
I won’t reveal Reed’s full story here, but as his show title gives some of the gist away I will say it’s a tale of being stalked and emotionally manipulated by an obsessive woman while the comic was at his most desperate and vulnerable.
It’s simply told. Reed talks us through each event, step-by-step, with few theatrics or tangents. And while we only hear of his experience, the story’s not totally one-sided. The Sunderland stand-up expresses his regrets and often doesn’t come off in the best of lights, but it’s all honestly and affably told.
Lighthearted jokes are sprinkled sporadically, but Reed largely allows the tale to speak for itself – there are more gasps than gags. It’s a shame, then, that when jokes do appear they’re a bit naff, about the ‘camp lads’ of Brighton or how Tinder is ‘top trumps for sex’.
There are some pacing problems, too – Reed’s emotional state means the show occasionally feels more like therapy for him than entertainment for his audience, and he sometimes gets bogged down in some minor details. Largely, though, it’s an engrossing tale, with plenty of satisfying twists as it builds towards its dramatic finale. With a little bit more time for his wounds to heal, Reed could make this a storytelling triumph.