Conor O’Toole, with a tremendous amount of forethought, has already made plans for his funeral, from the service to the sandwiches. The performance consists of O’Toole regaling the audience with his desires for the event, bookended by some quirky, sombre songs played on a spring on a stick. By its very nature, the show is dark – an oblique look at death and the afterlife. However, O’Toole’s fantastic stage presence is enough to make the morbid subject strangely comfortable. Not quite the overblown showman, O’Toole is awkward yet likeable and completely magnetic.
From the Underbelly, O’Toole escorts you to the undesignated location of his funeral. The audience is small and intimate and the show feels ramshackle and mysterious but the whole thing is tremendously charming. O’Toole’s quirky affectations are original but don’t make his performance feel contrived. His comedy is freewheeling and tangential and makes for a relaxed, conversational atmosphere. Constantly spurred on by his director, who sits discretely to the side of the stage, he seems to have no control over the rest of the performance - a quality that is endearing rather than annoying as an informal atmosphere is vital to O’Toole’s performance.O’Toole’s comedy sometimes misses the mark and becomes a little convoluted and confused but the charm of the whole performance is enough to keep the experience thoroughly entertaining.
This show is a hidden gem at this year’s Fringe and provides a quaint little stroll into the absurd. I highly recommend this to anyone looking for a bit of quirky comedy off the beaten track. If you’re looking for laugh-a-minute stand up, this might not be for you but if you’ve got a spare hour or so, give this a try. You never know, it might just be the best funeral you’ve ever been to.