David O\'Doherty: Grown Up

Note: This review is from 2006

Review by Steve Bennett

Having now become a regular fixture at the Fringe, David O’Doherty continues to produce some of the most joyful stand-up comedy known to man in this life-affirming hour.

The broad theme for this year’s show gives him ripe opportunity to share his distinctive world-view, as it is about growing up and becoming aware of one’s self. Not that he announces his concept at the beginning, or has any need to do so. The show appears as a fluid compilation of random routines but the trend begins to emerge as things progress, illustrating a subtle intelligence.

The major question that emerges is the huge difference between the terms ‘grown-up’ and ‘David O’Doherty’, as the two seem irreconcilable. He excitedly bounds around the stage with an almost fixed grin, wearing clothes that are so mismatched that he appears to have dressed himself for the first time ever that morning. Everything he says is informed by an incredibly childish sensibility, from the coolness of the room’s lighting set-up to putting issues of Irish politics into terms of confectionary.

It is this element of his performance that makes O’Doherty so immediately endearing. Despite the fact that there is a clear impression that many parts of the show are there for his own amusement, nothing ever seems self-indulgent as we all want to share in his thoughts and interests.

His choice of instrument – a retro Yamaha keyboard – is simply ridiculous in both sound and appearance, but somehow O’Doherty makes it seem effortlessly cool and, even, a powerful means to articulate some the show’s more bittersweet moments.

By the time he winds everything up with a song written for his 14-year-old self, it is clear that he wants his audience to take away a ‘do what you want, and do it for yourself’ motto, making a much stronger case than anything that might have been argued in a more contrived manner.

Come for the low-energy musical whimsy, and leave with a light heart and smile plastered on your face. David O’Doherty is one of the genuine champions at this year’s festival.

Review date: 1 Jan 2006
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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