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Darker Side O' The Toon
Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure
David Hadingham Has A Darker Side
David Kay: Fireball
David O'Doherty Creates Something New Under The Su
Des Bishop's Wage Slave
Des Clarke: For One Night Only
Dominic Coleman: A Millennium Prayer
Dr Dewey Decimal in the House of Vaudeville
Dudley Sutton: Killing Kittens
Dyball and Kerr: We Will Roof You
Dara O'Briain, the host of BBC2's Live Floor Show, will be returning to Edinburgh in 2003 after a complete sell out at the Festival in 2002. This exceptional Irish stand-up will be performing for the full three and half week run with yet another brand new show.
Last year, Dara O'Briain put together what he considered a poignant, deep and, most importantly, critic-friendly show covering the death of his grandmother, a former Irish freedom fighter.
But all the reviewers said was that he was bear-like - or ursine if they were from the posh papers.
And that's the thing with O'Brian. He's so good at being the jovial, friendly Irishman that it's easy to ignore the remarkably intelligent material just beneath that veneer.
He'll undermine the conventions of stand-up with a mocking bit of banter, flirt with political issues, then mention a Homeric odyssey in the same breath as a knob gag. But because he doesn't brandish his intellect as ostentatiously as some of his more studenty colleagues, it barely warrants a mention.
But the fact that he doesn't wear his smarts on his sleeve is just part of his faultless technique. Yes, he talks fast, rattling out so many words a minute his routine could be used as an advanced Teeline exam, but he never does less than command a room.
And this with no gimmick other than a microphone - and possibly his loud jacket lining. Even the structure's loose - the train of thought often seems as sturdy as a Connex suburban - which so often spells disaster for an hour-long show. Yet here it all comes together impeccably well.
He wafts through subjects such as swimming with dolphins, his shady past as a kids' TV host, or the folly of taking balloon safaris. Admittedly that sounds like a tedious 'what I did in my holidays' essay, but belted out with such passion and wit that you really feel involved. And any show that contains the line, "Fuck off, he's my dwarf," has to come with a hearty recommendation.
With this year's offering, O'Briain has again proved he is simply one of the finest, no-nonsense comics to grace Britain's comedy stages. If you're not in awe of his talent, you can't be a fan of comedy.
Brilliant every year - but not this year. Sorry, heard all the material before.
Saw 20 Edinburgh shows this year and Dara's made me laugh the most. So funny, clever, and topical - and so bloody fast, it's hard to keep up.
Probably the only stand-up at this years festival worthy of getting the sort of accolades that were thrown upon me last year. Good luck, Dara.