Review: Dave Gorman at the Liverpool Empire
There was more to Dave Gorman's return to traditional stand up than there seemed...
Dave Gorman takes to the stage of the Empire in jeans and trainers, purple patterned cardigan, tie, and beard. He's silently screaming his 30-something, white, middle-class-ness from the rafters, and this is reflected in the audience, who basically all look just like him.
So he began, with some nicely written and extremely polished, likeable enough material about the usual 30-something observations. Comedy quips from mum and dad, dropping out of university, a bit about dealing with reporters and the media. There was some very clever maths talk that was pretty impressive (we now know about perfect and friendly numbers). And he sneakily plants the seeds of the remarkable climax of the show into some throwaway gags at this early stage, so it paid to pay attention.
After years of causes, crusades and investigations, the new show was a surprising return to straightforward stand up. His latest dates have been an extension of his tour, now called Sit Down, Pedal, Pedal, Stop and Stand Up (Only Without the Pedal, Pedal Bit) - for which he cycled to every venue on the map. But rather than that being the point of the show, as I was half-expecting, he didn't go into that at all.
The first half was good stuff, but only had me smiling, not laughing out loud. The second half, however, really ramped the show up into rather extraordinary territory. He skilfully drew out a tale about the comedy potential of nearly dropping his keys in a post box, keeping momentum of such a daft-sounding premise up for the best part of 15 minutes. This whipped up into a brilliantly performed finisher, which went down particularly well thanks in part to the localisation of the last set up, and a good old rant about Ringo Starr, which always goes down well in these parts these days
But then just what made this show so remarkable, and memorable, is just what Gorman himself came out to implore the audience (and critics) to keep schtum about in his encore time. The less you know about it before you come, the funnier it is, he argued, and he was right (given that I expected it all to be about his cycling stunt). I wasn't expecting to be impressed enough to go along with all that, but for the fantastic performance he gave last night, it's the least we can do.
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