Writer: David O’Doherty
Reviewer: Fergus Morgan
David O’Doherty, by his own admission, has got as big as he’s going to get. His 17th show at the Edinburgh Fringe, Big Time, sees him playing the festival’s premiere venue to packed houses every night of the week. But, despite some wild fantasies about his professional career soaring so meteorically high that, in the future, Kanye West will refer to decadent celebrities as having gone ‘a bit O’Doherty’, the whimsical Irish comic knows that it doesn’t get much better than this.
Big Time is vintage O’Doherty: an hour of self-absorbed, stream-of-consciousness rambling interspersed with the dulcet tones of his famous mini-keyboard. As always, his central theme is some vague pursuit of happiness, but this is merely a springboard for him to delve into topics as diverse as Aldi supermarkets, the Easter Rising and those candles that can’t be blown out (the only product in the world, according to O’Doherty, that doesn’t have its own name).
He delivers all his stuff in a friendly, slightly world-wearied Irish lilt, wandering around the stage with a liberating lack of inhibition, chatting to hecklers rather than putting them down, and evoking a general atmosphere of geniality and friendliness. Everyone’s on the same page here.
This year’s show features typically off-beat songs about his time working in telemarketing, about a cycling accident he had in Australia, and about celebrities doing mundane things (George Clooney cleaning his dishwasher, Jay-Z trying to fix his TV remote). They’re neat little distractions about not much in particular, but they’re delivered with such quirky grace and such obvious glee that one can’t help but chuckle along.
Big Time isn’t going to break new ground, nor is it going to win any awards, but it’s a reliably rib-tickling hour from one of the Fringe’s biggest names. Catch it if you can, but don’t stress too much. He’ll be back doing much the same stuff next year, after all.
Runs until 28August 2016 | Image: Contributed