There seems to be nothing disingenuous about the applause and stomping feet of the Warwick Arts Centre audience who attempted to procure an encore from a reluctant Dylan Moran ("I'm tired of talking," he modestly mutters). Nothing fake, yes, but such rapture seemed incongruous in response to a comic whose style is not to deliberately whip his audience into frenzy. He could if he wanted to, of course, but then Moran could do a lot of things if he wanted to, and the quasi-stadium layout of the Butterworth Hall reminds me that he could probably hold a Wembley-sized audience as much as Eddie Izzard, who he strongly resembles in a few of his passages tonight.
Passages, or moments, seem the best way to describe the loose narrative structure of his act, meandering from American Starbucks-led imperialism to how children make you realise how little you know; or the occasional random U-turn back to themes such a Catholicism, first dissecting the decorative aspect of the religion and then talking about the "sugary shame" facing a Catholic encountering a packet of biscuits.
Not that a narrative map, something that Moran talked about in a recent interview in The Independent ("People want the map. They want to be told about their lives."), has been dispensed with altogether. However, his map operates on his Irish basis of time and space that he describes as "polychromic" as opposed to the monochromic basis of the English. This means that one minute Moran is describing the German language as like the sound of "typing on tin foil", and the next he suggests that the English are Teutonically challenged because they are unwilling to accept their German heritage. It's a kind of volte-face that many of Moran's drawings, shown on a screen above him, also exhibit.
Time spent with Moran makes for, overall, a gentle evening. Along the way, his best jokes provoke bursts of laughter among the contented chuckles; lines such as, "People who turn to Jesus tend to be people who haven't done that well with anyone else."Nonetheless, such gems stand out all the more for being sown throughout a show that is satisfying - even edifying - but somewhat less than electrifying.
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