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Dave Fulton:... Based on a True Story

Note: This review is from 2011

Review by Corry Shaw

In a criminally undersold show, in a new venue off the beaten track, in a very late night slot, it is hard to imagine the powerhouse that is American Dave Fulton doing too well. But from the minute the rugged comedian takes to the stage he grabs control. Within mere seconds there is not one doubt that we are in the hands of a professional, and such is his command of a room that we know we will be laughing whether we want to or not.

Fulton is an imposing performer and plays this small, largely empty venue with the panache and confidence of an arena act. He does make reference to his choice of venue, pointing out that he hates soulless large gigs and that small quirky rooms suit him better. But the man could surely play any space and have any audience eating out the palm of his hand. His delivery is such and his charisma so hypnotic he could read out a technical list of gun specs and people would still go with him. This is not hypothetical, he proves this in the hour.

Thankfully the material matches the delivery. There are no gags here, no pull-back-to-reveals. These are purely tales of Fulton’s exceptional and at times seedy life. He insists that his stories are all completely true and shows off some of his scars to prove it. The story of him and his buddies high on cocaine trying to shoot a spyhole in a door coming from anyone else's mouth would sound far fetched and unbelievable, but from this wild and scar-covered American there is not one iota of doubt. In fact, he's probably toned it down to make it more accessible.

The hour is four or five longer stories broken up with shorter more general observations. His pacing is almost spot on, pulling something lighter out the hat when the darkness gets a little too much. Even us humble reviewers get a mention as Fulton points out the difference in the British and American/Canadian press. He revels in reading bad reviews as apparently we get creative with our insults. But there is very little to insult here.

The only, pretty minor, criticisms are that some of the observational snippets feel a little out of place and club-like. Do we really still talk about the Americans being late for World War 2? He also breaks pace and some of the slick professionalism he exudes by selling a marketing gimmick halfway through the show. It's a clever and fitting gimmick, but it feels a bit forced and seems beneath him.

But these couple of slips can be forgiven. This is a great hour of intense storytelling and laughs.

The man has had several near death experiences, one of which involves alcohol, a woman and Mitch Hedberg, and for comedy fans this tale alone is worth the admission fee.

Fulton's life reads like a movie. He's pushed himself to try everything, he's been detained under the terrorism act, he's survived an avalanche, he's been involved in domestic violence and he lays it all out before us in a captivating, hilarious and at times worrying hour.

Although he claims his drug days are over he is still a man that gets a thrill from taking huge risks. Apparently Hedberg told him 'life is about experiences. Fortunately we have Fulton to regale us with his rather than having to risk our lives finding out first hand.

Review date: 9 Aug 2011
Reviewed by: Corry Shaw

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