Review: Dara O'Briain

Simon ParkinSome comedians go to great lengths to set up an elaborate routine on which to hang their gags. Then there are those such as Dara O'Briain who thrive on and run with the material provided by the audience.Simon Parkin

Norwich Theatre Royal

Some comedians go to great lengths to set up an elaborate routine on which to hang their gags. Then there are those such as Dara O'Briain who thrive on and run with the material provided by the audience.

The Irish comic and TV panel show regular spends almost the entire first half of this show taking his comic inspiration from a handful of people on the front row.


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It's the oldest stand-up trick in the trade, but O'Briain, perhaps along with Al Murray, is its current master.

Responding to the stumbles, pauses and half-answers of those chosen, he spirals off at absurd tangents, taking the audience with him.

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So a group of lads with innocent enough sounding jobs in security become Norwich's answer to the X-Men, fighting crime with the aid of Wymondham's monster duck (don't ask).

The Dublin motor-mouth never gives the impression that he is in any great rush to veer towards any pre-planned gags. But in between and alongside, he seamlessly manages to weave in tales about anti-natal classes and his life-saving antics, though even here the biggest laughs come from interacting with the audience.

And he's not afraid of outing himself as a nerd - both video games and science are given likely comedy workovers.

On paper the material isn't exactly groundbreaking, but they say comedy is all about the timing and the pace of his delivery meant we never had chance to draw breath. We were too busy laughing.

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