David Quirk: Career, Suicide | Melbourne International Comedy Festival review by Steve Bennett

David Quirk: Career, Suicide

Note: This review is from 2014

Melbourne International Comedy Festival review by Steve Bennett

David Quirk’s new show underlines his status as a mesmerising storyteller. That he can command such rapt attention with stories as slight as borrowing the wrong towel or a verbal run-in with a couple of young girls at a Melbourne skateboard park is testament to his compelling, theatrical delivery and powerful writing.

There’s a bleak undertow to most of the first-hand anecdotes in Career, Suicide. In one story he’s the sole guy sitting at the back of a Chippendales gig, hating every minute of everyone else’s fun. Swap ‘Chippendales gig’ for ‘life’ and that last sentence still works.

He’s an impoverished, itinerant, lonely comedian, and that provides the fodder for his anecdotes – as it does for so many inward-looking performers at this festival. He had the third story about being broken by the intensity of the Edinburgh Fringe that I’d heard in two days.

Quirk stands out, however, for so effectively conveying the voice of disaffected disappointment. His attitude to his veganism, grudgingly adopting it partly because it’s the right thing to do, and partly as a form of self-flagellation, applies to so many aspects of his existence.

Yet the show is missing a grander ambition that this is not all about him. Subjects such as being trapped under a black shadow of debt have a wider resonance that could be fruitful to explore. He’s such a masterful communicator, we can only imagine what he could do with a greater sense of purpose.

Nevertheless, his hold on an audience is such that we remain transfixed through the richly wry hour. That there are few laugh-out-loud moments is not a deal-breaker, as we so keenly want to hear what he has to say next. In fact, even after the show, I still want to hear what he has to say next – which is testament to both how great an orator he is, and how much more he has yet to address.

Review date: 12 Apr 2014
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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