Daniel Moore: Wistful Thinking
Show type: Melbourne 2008
Who would have thought something as simple as a handwritten letter could ruffle such dormant emotions? This the story of a peculiar letter received by a boy, which turns his life upside down. We learn about the boy and his hidden past as the letter is revealed piece by piece.
As he reads it his heart glows (metaphorically) and the world stops turning, if just for a moment.
What does it say? Who sent it… and why?
Yes, wistful just about covers it. This reflective piece, about a letter Daniel Moore received out of the blue from a girl he once had a crush on, is sweet and appealing – if ultimately too slight to leave much of a lasting impression.
Moore cuts engaging figure, with a naturally upbeat demeanour and perpetually beaming a welcoming, wide smile at his audience. That cheerfulness comes despite depicting himself as unlucky in love, a constant victim of the let’s-just-be-friends syndrome.
He plays up this romanticised version of himself, and possibly events, as a naïve daydreamer with unrequited feelings for a colleague at the swimming pool where he once worked, who was then so touched by this handwritten letter that he’s built an entire show around it – nine years after the event.
It isn’t, in truth, all that substantial an idea to build 55 minutes of stand-up around, so the narrative gets diluted by various tenuously connected routines, from kung-fu lessons to his narcoleptic schoolteacher. There’s a lot of unfocussed preamble, too, as he over-explains himself, apparently fearful of letting the story speak for itself – or possibly just filling time.
The consequence is that Wistful Thinking is an enjoyable, but lightweight show, showcasing Moore’s talent for connecting with an audience but not quite proving as poignant, or as funny, as it could be.
Reviewed by Steve Bennett
Date of review: Apr 2008