David O’Doherty: Somewhere Over the David O’Doherty – Pleasance Courtyard
***** (5 stars)
Having seen David O’Doherty on various TV comedy panel shows I was curious to see more of him and his tiny battery powered keyboard and I must say I have never been more impressed by a musical stand up performance. When leaving the venue I realised my cheeks were hurting from the incessant smiling and laughing over the hour long show; this doesn’t happen very often. O’Doherty is one of those comedians who makes you feel like his best mate. For some comedians this comes across as a slightly pathetic attempt at getting the audience on their side but this is not the case at all with O’Doherty, a genuinely witty and observant comedian with a surprising musical talent.
The minimalism provided by a toy keyboard makes his songs surprisingly epic, his closing song attempts to unite the audience: ‘We Are Not The Champions’ observes that as a collective we all at some point look for our hat that is on our head and do similarly stupid things such as kicking chairs in anger after we walk into them. When O’Doherty believed there to be an awkward moment (and there never was, the laughter rarely ceased in the entire hour) he read from his book 101 Facts About Pandas which are in fact 101 made up facts about pandas. Random, but strangely hilarious.
During such a long run of shows you’d expect a rather mechanically rigid performance that sticks to the original jokes, O’Doherty however, can improvise effortlessly, when an audience member spilt a drink he expressed his sadness and offered to buy him a new one then weaved this seamlessly into his act as well. He brings a perfect balance of carefully thought out jokes and audience interaction. We even gained some knowledge about bike maintenance and I don’t know of any other comedian who can offer practical advice in a humorous musical format.
O’Doherty tells us about his ‘beefs’ in 2010 through a song that has been updated yearly about his pet peeves, yet he never comes across as whiny or clichéd. His material is original and his modesty, remarkable, you walk from the theatre feeling like you’ve made a life long friend.
Pleasance Courtyard, running until the 30th August, 10.20pm. £12.50/£11