Gilded Balloon Teviot (venue details)
5 – 31 Aug (not 18), 4:30pm (5:30pm)
Dan March has led a seemingly pathetic life, which is also the basis for his comedy. The high-point of his existence was his appearance on Blockbusters, back when he was 18, and the unfurling of his life from there is his subject. This is partly a cleverly constructed set, and partly laughing with March at his repressed, sad existence.
This kind of stand-up is always a little awkward to watch, and March’s show sometimes descends into a mental self-mutilation that is unbearably hard to watch. However, there are excellent little comedy moments – and March’s delivery is fresh and direct, perfectly fitted to the Wee Room at the Gilded Balloon.
March’s story is certainly a painful one. Having had little success in life (explained in horrendous detail) since his appearance on Blockbusters, March recounts the difficult existence he has led – interspersed with moments from said quiz show – analysing and parodying the whole genre whilst still delivering a very direct message about grabbing life by the throat and living it to the fullest. This message and sentiment are inspiringly good topics for a stand-up show, and the feeling behind the show was uplifting enough to give March the audience’s undivided attention.
However, proving that life should be lived to the fullest by recounting your own failures is a little painful to watch, and March doesn’t shy away from some of his greater embarrassments and misunderstandings. These are delivered with enough charm and character to allow March to garner the audience’s sympathy, but often are taken just a little bit too far, leaving the audience stranded on the far side of empathy and unable to fall back into the rather well-delivered and written comedy.
In the end, this is a stand-up show, and the stand-up on display is simple and quick. March’s wit and delivery are excellent, and the speed at which the set is delivered belies its simple origins. The jokes are not elaborate or part of a story arc, but their simple humour fits well with the on-stage character portrayed, and are a nice diversion from the soul-scraping that so often occurs.
March is a very gifted, quick-witted performer, and could do with writing a set a little less soul-baringly awkward. As it stands, it is a funny, yet sometimes painful afternoon – and on track for being recognised for the talent, if not the material.