The Doug Anthony All Stars (DAAS) Live on Stage!

Australian musical trio Doug Anthony All-Stars were the anarchic kings of the alternative comedy scene in the late 80s and early 90s, achieving considerable success with such sleeper hits as "Commies for Christ" and "I Fuck Dogs". Partially reformed (Richard Fidler has been replaced on guitar by Paul Livingston) they are now back at the Fringe for the first time since 1994 and the sense of reverence from the comedy community is palpable - Russell Howard and Al Murray were both in the audience.

The presiding sense of good-will and the governing getting-the-band-back-together vibe made even their filthiest material somehow charming

They have certainly lost that youthful exuberance. They fully acknowledge that they are ‘broken men’ who look like your dad's pub band and rage self-deprecatingly against the cynicism of groups who partially reform in their twilight years. But sweet lord are they funny.

The easy chemistry between Paul McDermott and Tim Ferguson- who turn every conversation (many of them ad-libbed) into a prompt for howls of audience laughter- can only come with the immense mutual fondness of two veterans. The group know how to make a joke pay off - one gag about a rugby player who drank his own urine is carried through to a quite a brilliant conclusion.

The presiding sense of good-will and the governing getting-the-band-back-together vibe made even their filthiest material (one song about pornography habits turned the air especially blue) somehow charming. Neither do they solely depend on muck for laughs - a section involving a triangle (the instrument) and a song entitled ‘Brendan Behan is Dead’ develops into one of the most finely crafted and funniest comic routines you’re likely to see on the Fringe.

More extraordinary still is the obstacles that have been surmounted to get to this point. The group has been plagued by hardship in the last few years in the form of Ferguson’s worsening multiple sclerosis (MS) and he is currently bound to a wheelchair. He impresses with not only his courage (he informs us towards the end that he is present in direct defiance of his doctors' advice) but also his extraordinary capacity to mine his disability as an immensely fruitful comedic resource, whether he's guiding us through the staggering cocktail of drugs he is administered for treatment (he claims to be high as a kite throughout the show) or the messier details of his sex life.

There are flaws throughout the show: moments are ramshackle or go on too long, and a series of songs in the style of Gilbert and Sullivan dragged somewhat with only one basic joke to fuel them. Livingston, too, who performs a short stand-up set to open the show, could be somewhat better integrated as a new member of the band. Ultimately, the show is a triumph of humour over adversity and a joyful nostalgia trip into a bygone comic era. 

Reviews by Joe Spence

Pilgrim

The Harry and Chris Show

★★★★
Assembly George Square Gardens

Driftwood

★★★★
Underbelly, Cowgate

Lucy McCormick: Triple Threat

★★★★
Traverse Theatre

Daffodils (A Play With Songs)

★★★
Just the Tonic at The Mash House

Naz Osmanoglu: Exposure

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Paul McDermott and Tim Ferguson have teamed up with mentor Paul 'Flacco' Livingston for a sublime night of songs, sex, violence, feminism (and sex) that revolutionised the world of comedy in the '80s and '90s and made DAAS the world's first and most feared, loathed and adored comedy rock stars. Following a 2015 sell-out international run, Australia's most controversial export invites you to come running and screaming down memory lane! Meet the men who built the legend. Age has only made them angrier.

Most Popular See More

Grease the Musical

From £20.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets