Christopher Bliss (Rob Carter) is a terrible but bumptiously confident novelist, churning out sub-James Bond action books that he takes immensely seriously.

He lacks all understanding of subtext, advised on grabbing the reader’s attention with a new death in every paragraph, and attempted to flog his magnum opus, owlishly entitled A Murder and a Robbery at the Same Time on the Train from London to Shropshire. But somehow this intense, Alan Partridge-like figure in a turquoise bomber jacket was oddly endearing.

His beard-stroking acolyte Luke Courtier, the intense turtleneck-wearing posh boy swilling claret who regarded Bliss as a master with hidden depths, valiantly bit back laughter at Bliss’ discovery of “an extraordinary novel” - the thesaurus - and his eagerly gasping readings from it, particularly the entry on breasts.

The concept of this show was an immersive experience which worked extremely well in the Komedia’s smallest and most intimate Studio space, with cabaret-style seating and flickering candles. Every audience member received a Novelist Name – Aubrey, Hugo, Xanthe – and participated in the resounding call-and-response chant: “What are we?” “NOVELISTS!”

“What do we do?” “WRITE NOVELS!” “Why?” “BECAUSE WE MUST!”

During the interval we filled in forms describing our novels and their problems, so Bliss and Courtier could counsel us (“If in doubt, breasts or scimitars”) on how to improve them, with deranged ingenuity – whether by introducing a million squid in the first paragraph, making a too-fascinating villain an estate agent, or depicting inner anguish through failed polenta-cooking during a ski season.

This character comedy and satire on the privilege of over-confident white men would delight anyone who has attended a writer’s workshop or a pretentious literary gathering. It was, however, slightly thin on content: the first half was notably brief, and the second half was dependent on the creative and good-natured audience’s suggestions.