Venue: Underbelly, Cowgate
19 August 2011 WOS Rating: No one is born a leader, least of all Rory Sheridan, eponymous but reluctant hero of David O'Doherty's new foray into character comedy. Gone are the mini-keyboard and whimsy which won O'Doherty the 2008 if.comedy award, replaced with a balaclava, thermals and the sort of lecture you might expect to hear at a pre-war Royal Geographical Society - if booking got lax.
Not the first adventurer fuelled by his desire to 'get the girl', Sheridan sets off to the South Pole in roundabout pursuit of his one true love, Kate Thinsulate, heiress to a thermal fortune matched only by the Gortex family, or 'Gortices'. And it's joyfully silly wordplay and characters like these that keep the home fires burning throughout this largely linear narrative.
Old-fashioned but with fart jokes, it's carefully written, cheekily performed and only sometimes lags. In fact, a warmer hour of storytelling you'd be hard pushed to find, despite the chill our narrator conjures up in comparing the antarctic landmass to an ill-clad bride, an unwanted wedding cake or a calendar with all the dates marked out ("It was too cold for time.")
Penguins won't like the bad press but it beats
Happy Feet for laughs, even summoning genuine pathos for its bumbling protagonist in the final scene. "I'm not an actor," says O'Doherty after curtain call. "But I think that went okay today." The capacity audience would agree.
- Nancy Groves
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