David O'Doherty Creates Something New Under the Sun, Gilded Balloon
Saturday 23 August 2003
Oh, dear. Sometimes it's a pleasure - for those of us who are reasonably secure about ourselves - to watch a performer whose charm is his defining characteristic. But David O'Doherty, an Irish fellow of indeterminate age (ie, we know he's in his twenties, but he resembles Nicolas Cage enough to make the point moot), has come up with so little this year that not even his cute smile and easy manner can compensate for the sheer lack of coherent material in his set.
Whether plonking away hopelessly on his keyboard (his jazz musician father advised him to give up in refreshingly blunt terms, apparently) while singing nursery rhymes about his lost loves, or just regaling us with tales of middle-class Dublin life (like west London, but duller, it transpires), he never seems able to rouse an already sleepy audience. About halfway through the set there's a sudden rash of decent one-liners which threaten to stir the crowd, but it doesn't last, and we drift back into a relaxing snooze soon after. I swear I saw a performer with the same name a couple of years back who had something interesting to offer, but it must have been a different fellow. It's back to teaching, then, for this David O'Doherty, but those classrooms, at least, packed with bad lads a-kipping and girls a-fawning, will adore him.
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