Dara O’Briain has been on fine form recently. He seems entrenched in the hilarious Mock the Week and shows off his scope with School of Hard Sums as well as Stargazing Live. It seems rather odd that he jokes comedians have no transferable skills, including himself in the micky taking, as the Irish stand-up is clearly smart enough to land himself plenty of jobs.
Wikipedia – as risky as that is – suggests more evidence to say O’Briain has been on the rise. In 2007 Channel 4 viewers voted him 42nd greatest stand-up and more recently, 2010, in the same show he ranked 16th.
So what of Craic Dealer? Can O’Briain take his TV presence and make it work live. Will the DVDs of Dara O’Briain fly off the shelves and become hard to find just before Christmas. One thing to note is that Friday the 25th is DVD camera day for the Edinburgh Playhouse. You might well be in the DVD if you sit too close to the stage.
Just a heads up – if you are looking for the DVD make extra effort to find it in Tesco. Dara doesn’t name the supermarket giant but does share with the audience that one large UK retail chain objected to the name “Craic Dealer”. They didn’t get the Irish meaning of “Craic” and fell headlong into the pun trap, worrying about “Crack dealer” and drugs. Craic means fun. Just for the craic.
Another warning – if you don’t want to be on the DVD or even would prefer not to be part of the show – then don’t sit near the front. He will find you.
From the safety of the Circle, one whole level up but relatively near the front, this reviewer spent a good two hours laughing. I’ve no reason to get worked up by an Irish atheist poking fun at astrology and Nativity plays. I appreciated the cunning inventions suggested for keeping your kitchen free from burglars and share similar concerns about sabretooth tigers.
The show, I think, is late teen family friendly. Yes; there’s the f*** word a lot and one careful, strategically placed, c*** – but we’re forewarned and the deployment is worth it. Late teen family friendly means the two hours aren’t laced with jokes that are best shared with friends rather than family.
So, do we enjoy O’Briain’s TV presence only from an up close and personal point of view? In many ways; yes. Dara’s humour feels very much the same, just as quick, just a sharp and projected with the same skill.
The audience interaction is the new element and is very much part of the show. If you’re sitting high up in the Playhouse then you may struggle at times when the comedian gets very close to the front of the stage and is leaning forward to talk to those punters below him. Near me people were craning their necks to look up and over the edge of the Circle. It would have been a bit of a challenge for people, higher up, in the balcony.
The Playhouse remains the Playhouse. It’s a good stage and the staff are experienced enough to wrestle with the air conditioning. It did get too hot on our Dara night but that’s a common battle staff fights. There’s a chunky break mid-way through the show for trips to the loo and the bar. The Playhouse sells drinks, booze, in sealed plastic cups so you can take them back to your understandably small seat.