Boy is it wet tonight. We’ve waded down from a very nice meal at Al Forno on Southfield Road, through weather that would make a diuretic cow blanch, to reach a Town Hall bathed in the reflection of rain-gilded pavements and huddled punters trying to get out of the wet.
Dave Gorman is the master of Powerpoint. Over the years he has honed his presentation game to an ever finer edge, pushing its use as a comic medium ever further. This is my fifth Gorman show(1), and I last saw him four years ago, in this very space. That was before the Town Hall had been given a snappy new facelift. But here he is again. So is Nick Doody, acting as his support(2). Doody is a really talented performer and writer himself and works with Dave a lot, so it’s a pleasure to see him again, looking happy to have escaped the claws of metropolitan living
It’s quite difficult to write about Dave Gorman without giving too many spoilers away, but I’ll have a go. First up, if you like giraffes, you’re in luck, because ungulates of the genus Giraffa play a significant role in the evening’s proceedings. If you’re a cameleopardophile, it’s pretty much a racing cert you’ll get your money’s worth
There are of course Found Poems, another thing in which Dave seems to have cornered a market, and in one case he (rather delightfully) loses his shit in an entirely unexpected way part way through, which we love; it is quite genuinely joyous to see him high on his own supply, as it were.
The logic of his shows is generally tortuous, circular, and involves lots of callbacks, so you need to pay attention lest you miss something(3). You could even go as far as saying they are sort of picaresque, really, given Gorman’s predilection for good-natured mischief. This show is no exception, but I won’t spoil things by saying exactly what those hi-jinks are. However, if you’ve seen his other shows, or his TV work, do expect some references to daytime telly of a particular mark, life as a husband(4), and father, not to mention lots of cultural minutiae – the kind of stuff you hardly even notice is weird until it’s pointed out to you. And of course there’s some maths: there is always some maths.
If there is is a serious point, like Ben Elton’s show last month, it’s about truth, and responsibility which he admits is there in the title for a reason. perhaps it’s the times, but even-handed as he tries to be, it’s becoming increasingly hard to be a comedian in a post-truth landscape.
But the thing about Dave Gorman is that you really have to be there to savour it best. Even though it’s nominally the same show each night of the tour, the immediacy of each night (including the occasional missteps) gives it something special, and something ever so slightly different from the experience of watching him on TV, even though that is a particular treat in itself. And if you have a receptive audience, it gets even better. Tonight, it all kind of hangs together just nicely, and is a great night.
(1) The first time was in Whitby, performing A Better World, in 2002, which had proper slides and overhead projectors(!). A year later I saw him doing Googlewhack Adventure in Darlington, which remains astoundingly good. This is the third show — after 2011 and 2015 — I’ve seen that is more directly Powerpoint-focused.
(2) He was also Dave’s support last time I saw him, I think (though Jay Foreman has opened for him too, if I remember rightly). He was great then as well, and I bought his DVD. That was good too.
(3) Especially because so few comics have callbacks to their support acts. This is a very good thing.
(4) The long-suffering Mrs Gorman is a permanent fixture now.