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Somewhere Over the David O’Doherty

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Julia Chamberlain

This was a very special show tonight.  It’s probably always good, but this had the quality of instant magic being made.  Not having seen David O’Doherty for a couple of years, my reaction was ‘Hasn’t he grown!’ He has gone way beyond his  ‘very low energy musical whimsy’ of yesteryear, he’s more physical, his voice is more muscular, his personality fills the stage and the room.

The hum of anticipation was ramped up by a tongue-in-cheek rock-star opening: he was clapped and roared on to the stage, with the audience prepared to tip into laughter at every turn.

What did he do? Well, daft songs, more spoken than sung over a plinky-plinky organ, animal facts to cover the advertised lulls – which are no such thing – and dizzying, exhilarating tumbling ideas.  Taking in this show is spending an hour gazing down a comedy kaleidoscope where the images and patterns shift and reform every few seconds.  He has the positive energy of a five year old, but with no contrived hyperactivity, this is all wonderfully in control.

He covers some fairly standard topics, the banality of telephone queuing, quiet carriages on trains, iPhone zealotry, but quickly, with a light touch and fabulous expressive delivery, always moving on to the next exciting thing.  The show’s pause button was pressed partway through when O’Doherty invited a couple of steaming drunk teenagers to leave as they had been yapping loudly throughout.  The problem was that one of them thought he was coming to see Travis.  The audience was giddy with delight at this stupid hiatus, the front row had a whip-round to get them out and a member of the crowd tempted them away with a pint jug of collected change.  Being an utter professional, O’Doherty made being chucked out of his show a privilege for the fuckwits and a gloriously funny interlude for the rest of us.  

This show is pure entertainment, no message, no manifesto, no therapy; you just want him to keep flinging out the ideas, enjoying his celebration of human frailty and foibles.

Review date: 21 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Julia Chamberlain

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