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Ciarán Dowd, Soho Theatre review - terrific spoof swordsman tale | reviews, news & interviews

Ciarán Dowd, Soho Theatre review - terrific spoof swordsman tale

Ciarán Dowd, Soho Theatre review - terrific spoof swordsman tale

Award-winning show is great fun

Ciarán Dowd won best newcomer at the Edinburgh Comedy Awards

The Edinburgh Fringe does throw up some oddities – in comedy shows, of course, but also in its dishing out of awards. And so it was that Ciarán Dowd's marvellous Don Rodolfo deservedly gained the Edinburgh Comedy Award for best newcomer, even though he's an old Fringe hand.

But as his previous work was as part of the sketch troupe BEASTS he was eligible for this, his debut solo show.

Don Rodolfo is a famed swordsman, in both senses of the word, swashing his buckle throughout the land in 17th-century Spain, and Dowd presents a wonderfully daft, energetic hour of storytelling as Rodolfo hunts down the man who killed his father – or  'is favthaire, as he pronounces it in a very shaky Spanish accent that moves freely around Europe, unlike British people will soon be able to do. Rodolfo is, as Dowd's publicity material has it, the grotesque love child of Don Juan and Don Quixote.

Don Rodolfo – or Don Rodolfo Martini Toyota, to give him his full name – is a bit of a fool, giddy with his obvious attractions (to men and women). If you're not careful you will drown in his dreamy blue eyes as he freely dispenses seduction tips for those less well endowed with good looks, charm and fencing ability. Oh, and he may give you a sugar lump, too.

Dowd both celebrates and spoofs the swordsman hero tropes, playing up the absurd machismo as he flirts with the audience – “I both have and am a world-class bell-end.” In a show with a high joke content, it's also filled with amusing anachronisms as Rodolfo and his hobby horse go on their search, neatly referencing several films as they go, in order to blithely steal storylines from The Princess Bride, Rocky and The Revenant, among others.

There are some nicely worked set pieces too, as Dowd acts out a solo sword fight in which he manages to kill everyone in sight, using various means, and he mimes a heroic training montage. The occasional joke doesn't land, but the show has several nice callbacks, and there's a very good twist to end the hour. Terrific fun.

  • Ciarán Dowd: Don Rodolfo returns to Soho Theatre, London W1 from 18 December to 12 January 2019
Don Rodolfo is a bit of a fool, giddy with his obvious attractions


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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