David O'Doherty Presents: Rory Sheridan's Tales of The Antarctica

David 'Perrier Award winning' O'Doherty has grown a beard especially for his role as the intrepid – read: inept - explorer Rory Sheridan. But Sheridan's story, a story of love, penguin meat and really small tigers – read: definitely actually just cats – puts even that commitment to shame. Entering the stage in several layers of woolens and a thermal onesie - a onesie that will become integral to the story - Sheridan walks straight out of the early 1900s touring his ‘lecture’, he claims, out of financial obligation to the shipping company that funded his voyage. But all is not as it seems – and as the story meanders to its surreal, tragic and touchingly hopeful conclusion, it haphazardly travels, in the spirit of its tale, into the comedic unknown.What O'Doherty gives us here is a comedy show in the story-style of luminaries such as Daniel Kitson, with humour derived from a solid, warm, emotional core. When typical comedic terrain needs to be circumnavigated – the penultimate section is, in essence, an extended fart joke – it is frozen and thawed ingeniously by the narrative structure into something dramatically gripping and often surprisingly moving.If I had one complaint, it’s that O'Doherty is not as good a performer as he is a writer. Every line is delivered like a man in a pub telling his friends about an unexpected thing he saw in the street, a tone that works well for his punchlines and surreal similes but not so much for his emotional revelation. But then this is uncharted territory for any performer, surviving brilliantly on ingenuity, inventiveness and a little penguin meat – few comedians would attempt this journey in the first place, let alone make it back alive.

Reviews by Tom Moyser

Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

The Girl with the Hurricane Hands (and Other Short Tales of Woe)

★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

A Tale of Two Cities: Blood for Blood

★★
Traverse Theatre

Breakfast Plays: Tech Will Tear Us Apart (?)

★★★★
theSpace @ Jury's Inn

Droll

★★★★
Summerhall

The Castle Builder

★★★
Summerhall

4D Cinema

★★★★★

The Blurb

It’s 1917 and Rory Sheridan, Ireland's sixth or seventh greatest Antarctic explorer, delivers an illustrated talk on his not entirely successful journey to the south. 'A national treasure' (Irish Times).