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Dead Cat Bounce – Fringe 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Steve Bennett

Forget one man and a guitar, this is full-on musical comedy, with a four-piece rock band and all the volume and energy that entails.

There are some moments when you suspect this is all a cover for a lack of comic inspiration – usually during the smattering of conventional, non-musical sketches. Scenes such as planning apple-scrumping with the precision of a bank heist or tennis players sledging each other with increasing ass-obsessed putdowns tend to be well-executed, but not all that funny.

Indeed, some of the earlier musical numbers also take well-trodden routes, such as the homoerotic undertones of rugby, despite all its ‘manly’ associations. But, boy, are the songs good. If Dead Cat Bounce are going to use music as a prop, at least they’ve taken the trouble to make sure it’s damn good music.

But actually, as the show progresses, this personable Dublin-based quartet come into their own, cutting the ties to safer material and stamping their own slyly mocking personality on to their tracks, and making the most of their versatile musicianship.

While pub rock is their default setting, they transform into an African choir for one middle eight, or an R&B boy band for another track. This spoof, reducing the genre to its key elements of champagne, clubs and ‘my place’, is a classy delight; as is the preppy Americana they bring to their Sixties-style bubblegum rock and roll track: Remember That Summer When We Killed That Guy.

The lyrics don’t always stand out comedically, but what appeals is the inventive spirit of the whole enterprise; with inspired off-the-wall songs about an over-enthusiastic contraception user, narcolepsy and midgets, among others. The show is tightly put-together, and the music infectious and fun.

Dead Cat Bounce are named after the brief, small upswing the stock market experiences after one sharp plummet, but before shares fall again. But their stock is definitely on the rise.

Review date: 31 Aug 2009
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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