David Quirk: Shaking Hands With Danger | Review by Steve Bennett
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David Quirk: Shaking Hands With Danger

Note: This review is from 2013

Review by Steve Bennett

Few comics paint themselves in a really bad light. Even when they are describing morally dubious misdeeds, it tends to be done in a naughty, celebratory way so the audience can live vicariously through the dodgy behaviour.

But in David Quirk’s tale of relationship infidelity, he does not come across well, even by his own testimony. This is the story of how – to use a phrase he doesn’t care for – he cheated on his long-time girlfriend, a landscape architect called Claire who seemed to be his perfect partner, while on an overseas trip.

It’s also a story about another relationship: the one he had with Guns N Roses, which began when he first heard them during a rebellious incident on a school skiing trip and has persisted to this day. Lead guitarist Slash’s self-titled autobiography has proved a special comfort, badly written as it is, as Quirk imagines himself to be the rock and roll rebel he can never be.

The narratives are skilfully weaved together, as festival stalwart Quirk is coming into his own as a comic storyteller. There are some delicious turns of phrase here, along with the judicious application of sarcastic repetition. He’s emotionally intelligent, and not afraid to expose some darknesses about his own failings.

That said, there’s also a cracking routine about his dick... let’s not get too arty-farty here. Routines about embarrassing visits to the sexual health clinic are always inherently funny and it’s the only time he allows himself to deliver what is a comparatively straightforward stand-up routine. For the rest of the hour, he deftly avoids easy gags in favour of lines that cut a little deeper, yet still pack a bittersweet comic punch. The result is a tale with weight and wit.

There is, it has to be said, a massive hole in the narrative; which he admits and ingeniously tries to paper over, although there’s no avoiding the fact it’s a cop-out for what’s most probably a part of his life that’s still too raw to start prodding at. And there are moments when there is more introspection than laughs, but that’s the tone of the piece.

For while Quirk might have let himself down as a human being, this is a triumphant show as a comedian.

Review date: 11 Apr 2013
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Melbourne International Comedy Festival

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