There’s nothing like setting the bar high: the ‘set’ for the opening show of David O’Doherty’s two night run at Norwich Playhouse consists solely of the words “Not too bad” marked out with masking tape on the back curtain.
It really is an understatement though, as O’Doherty is a gem of a performer. There is a kitsch element that some might find hard to get over but learn to love his cheap electric keyboard and you open yourself to a world of wonderfully funny and observant songs.
The best sung material was in the encore – his setting of the Grand Design theme music to words, plus an impromptu addition of a mournful styling of Agadoo, was a brilliant ending – with more of this gig focusing on his spoken standup than on previous tours.
His style is part anecdotal, part surrealist, delivered with a familiarity and warmth that works particularly well in an intimate venue like the Playhouse. Whether talking about product placement or Protestantism, celebrity success or Christmas present failures there is no mistaking him for any other comedian.
The cultivated self-depreciation and apparently ramshackle approach belies a well-honed set and extremely funny act. Not too bad at all.