wed 13/11/2019

Dave Gorman, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh | reviews, news & interviews

Dave Gorman, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

Dave Gorman, Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

A masterclass in the power of PowerPoint

Dave Gorman: mining comedy gold from obsessive research

Following a rejuvenating foray back to his one-man-with-a-mike stand-up roots throughout 2009 and 2010, this summer Dave Gorman returned to the Edinburgh Fringe after an eight-year absence to launch Dave Gorman's PowerPoint Presentation. The man who invented the genre of data-heavy, technology-based interactive comedy with Are You Dave Gorman? and Googlewhack Adventure once again found a haven in the Apple Mac and comedy pie chart; could we have been forgiven for thinking that he was playing it just a little safe?

Now Gorman is taking the show on tour – and gosh it’s good. Not safe at all, but daring, clever, brilliantly constructed and beautifully realised. As the title suggests, PowerPoint Presentation is essentially a double act featuring Gorman and a supersized overhead projector. His desire, as ever, is to riffle through the split ends of human interaction, but there is no epic quest this time, simply an attempt to negotiate the thicket of smart phones, Twitter and Wikipedia in order to make some sense of a world convinced that developing an anti-perspirant which can last for 96 hours constitutes some kind of progress.

Gorman builds momentum by looping back to previous references and making countless connections to create layers of comedy goodness

He may have built his reputation on the ingenious use of technology but Gorman loves his subject enough to question its omnipresence in our culture. So even as he’s going click crazy, presenting a blizzard of screen grabs from Twitter or a rogue’s gallery of absurd lookalikes, he is alive to the comical vapidity of it all. 

The material on the insidious nature of marketing gently trumps Bill Hicks's oft-quoted and overrated mantra on the same theme with its layered sophistication: his illustration of the “10:08 rule” of clock advertising is a masterclass in the art of mining comedy gold from obsessive research, and proves that Gorman’s great talent lies in chasing down the details until they yield a wonderful, truth-giving absurdity.

He lays down the kind of meticulous ground work which puts many other comics to shame. Not only that, he’s much cleverer than his laid-back lecturer persona would have him appear. Whether deconstructing the age-old “knock, knock” set-up or mocking the clichéd staple of involving the front row in the opening stages of a stand-up show, he deftly subverts comedic convention without making too much of a fuss about it. 

His “found poems”, created from a foaming torrent of online newspaper comments on the sanctity of the Union Jack and Jerry Seinfeld’s opinions on the royal wedding, are the highlights of a 75-minute show that rarely flags. Gorman builds momentum by looping back to previous references and making countless connections to create layers of comedy goodness. He does it all without losing his everyman warmth or an affection for what he clearly regards as the essentially benign eccentricity of humanity. On a killer routine about his phantom Jewishness he manages to have his cake and eat it, and he’ll even make you feel a pang of fondness for Jim Davidson. He’s that good.

  • Dave Gorman is touring until 30 November

Watch a clip of Dave Gorman's Googlewhack Adventure

Gorman’s great talent lies in chasing down the details until they yield a wonderful, truth-giving absurdity


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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