Absolute Radio DJ Christian O’Connell offers a well-structured and superbly amusing show recalling his attempts to complete every desire and dream his thirteen-year-old self set out in a list of things he wanted to do before he was forty. After rediscovering this list ten weeks before his birthday, O’Connell used his breakfast show as a platform to broadcast his plan, and managed to play Subuteo with Bryan Robson, fight real-life Darth Vader, and attempt to go on a date with Kelly LeBrock. His most difficult task was seemingly attempting to re-create Ferris Bueller's Day Off which even involved an impromptu trip to Chicago.
This is a cleverly focused show and one very much aimed at those at similar points in life. Filled with jokes for parents or those who have passed the 40th birthday landmark, O’Connell’s first Edinburgh show feels anything but new or needing any fine-tuning. Incredibly fluent, O’Connell has a brilliantly comfortable stage presence which sets the audience at ease. As we are confidently and neatly taken through each dream-based endeavour, it is a nice reminder that as children anything seems possible; a belief we lose as we grow older, which O’Connell may be suggesting is a shame.
An hour filled to the brim with comedic material, I would recommend this show highly to any fan of O’Connell as he manages to keep his natural radio DJ charm intact, and transport it straight onto the stage. This is Thirteen encapsulates the performer’s struggles with age, his clear decision to embrace himself turning 40, and his quite wonderful sentimentality surrounding growing old.