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Nick Doody: Schizo - Fringe 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Steve Bennett

There’s an excellent device at the centre of Nick Doody’s fourth Edinburgh show: the idea that, to be a great comic, he really needs to have highly polarised opinions on everything. No sitting on the fence and seeing both sides, like the reasonable man he professes to be. He needs moral certainty, delivered with oratorial vigour – that’s what gets results.

But for a show about extremes, Schizo strangely fails to elicit strong feelings either way. It’s a pretty good show, with isolated moments of genius, but despite his best efforts, falls short of brilliance.

Doody earns his crust mostly writing topical comedy, and most of the big stories of the last few months are covered: from Susan Boyle to MPs’ expenses; the credit crunch to Sachsgate. His opinions are sometimes contrary, but largely common-sense, which unfortunately goes against the pig-headed stance he planned to take, a fact which is papered over by passionate delivery.

There are some stand-out routines; his denial of the religious types’ insistence that ‘there are no atheists on a sinking ship’ makes a good point, while his denouncement of the tabloid’s hysterical description of ketamine as a ‘horse tranquiliser’ is, aptly enough, hysterical.

He skilfully frames these opinionated routines in the context of his mother’s death just before last year’s Fringe. Not the most obvious of juxtapositions, but the ever-eloquent Doody made it work, adding a touch of humanity – and indeed humility – to the tirades.

Yet for all that was admirable about the hour, something was missing – and not just the audience in this surprisingly under-attended show. Maybe it’s because telling the audience he was going to abandon subtlety means we already know these aren’t his true opinions, so that all that is left is insincere grandstanding. But it is damn fine grandstanding nonetheless.

Review date: 16 Aug 2009
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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