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David O'Doherty: David O' Doh-party - Fringe 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Nione Meakin

After winning the if.comedy award last year, David O'Doherty plays it safe with the follow-up, consolidating rather than developing. It's a lovely hour, if not a great surprise.

He is aware of the expectations the audience will have of him now and tackles them head on and in typically lo-fi style with a plinky-plonkety song urging everyone to 'please, please' lower them. The sentiment is amusingly undermined by the rapturous response. As if we're taking any notice of the words!

O'Doherty is one of those comics who is, in his man-child goofiness, inherently likable. We want him to succeed. It's an alchemy that transforms a show that deals with nothing more important than crap internet connections, the perils of air travel and the pointlessness of Guitar Hero into something greater than the sum of its parts.

He doesn't even have anything particularly fresh to say on the topics. Rather, it's the way he tells 'em.  YouTube and Twitter are ridiculously easy targets but you still can't help smiling when he grumbles that the bad spelling on the former makes everyone sound as if they're stuck down a well. His set is peppered with these throwaway observations, as well as delicious similies – not quite Dylan Moran's literary flights but not too far behind. Returning to his detested Guitar Hero, for example, he describes how you have to hang a child's plastic guitar around your neck to play 'like the opposite of a medal'.

O'Doherty is a natural storyteller which makes his farcical anecdotes about meeting a woman he had previously only seen through a telescope as a teenage pervert, or a friend climbing into bed with their parents after taking legendary West Cork Ecstasy a delight rather than a pub bore. You have to like a man toying with the idea of writing a musical based on OMC's How Bizarre that never once includes the title song. He might even get away with it; his own songs, wittily discordant marriages of music and words, all hammered out on his trusty old Yamaha, are unequalled in charm, not least slyly sentimental closer Everything's Not Shit.

It's nothing radical, sure, more an indulgent homely pleasure but as they go, O'Doherty is buttered toast on a cold, rainy evening.

Review date: 25 Aug 2009
Reviewed by: Nione Meakin

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