Pecha Kucka Kilkenny #1

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Steve Bennett

Pecha Kucha is a way of speeding up presentations, an antidote to paralysis by PowerPoint that disciplines the speaker to use just 20 slides, each of them displayed for just 20 seconds..

Although originated by Japanese designers, it’s clearly an efficient device to convey any information in a brisk six minutes and 40 seconds – and a brilliant tool for comedy, as David O’Doherty has been so quick to identify. Thanks to him, Kilkenny has become the 528th city to hold a Pecha Kucha (true) even if this take on things probably isn’t quite what the originators had in mind.

Because it’s a new format, each of the comedians attacked the challenge of presenting a tight, fast-moving lecture in a different way, trying to make best use of the limitations, which made for a varied bill.

After some preamble from the besuited O’Doherty – looking like an ‘alcoholic geography teacher’ as fellow participant Lloyd Langford observed – Colm O’Regan tried the most straightforward approach: using a sample from his already PowerPoint-heavy Ireland’s Got Mammies show.

The 20 seconds barely gave us enough time to absorb the information on the slides, though, and O’Regan found himself breathlessly racing through his ideas of what an exam paper might be like if set by aging, fearsomely conservative women. There are some great jokes in here, even if some were skipped over to keep up the pace, and this frenetic sample condensed gags that, over an hour, became repetitive.

Compared to that breakneck set, Colm’s near-namesake Jarlath Regan was concerned that his languidly slow delivery would be anathema to the format. Yet he hit the timings perfectly with his commentary on country living versus the city life, coming out firmly in favour of the former. Maybe not comedy gold, but enjoyably wry observations to fuel the rivalry.

Lloyd Langford probably had the most effective approach to the 20x20 regime, presenting a biography of compatriot Tom Jones that appeared to be researched entirely by doing a Google Image search and imaging the background to the results –which contained plenty of images of The Voice judge in nothing but his kecks, predictably enough. Luckily, Langford has a fertile and surreal imagination, and the results were hilarious – and he coped admirably with the technical breakdown that left him with one slide for considerably more than 20 seconds.

O’Doherty himself stepped up to the plate next, with a similar approach but on his specialists subject. He’s an acknowledge expert on both pandas and sharks, having co-written two beautifully illustrated books on the subject, and here presented pages from those esteemed academic tomes – full of meticulously-researched facts about the Fax Machine Shark or the Negative Panda, which, of course, is what happens when a normal panda is struck by lightning.

Alex Horne closed proceedings, setting some of his usual comedy-club routine to new illustrations – Photoshop marvels that put his own face into some unusual, and sometimes creepy, positions so adding an extra element to his downbeat puns and self-deprecating commentary without fundamentally changing it.

But there are many valid approaches to Pecha Kucha – which is surely why it has become a worldwide fad, and so well-suited to comedy. More nights like this will surely follow, and a good thing too.

Review date: 6 Jun 2012
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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