Review: Ardal O’Hanlon
Venue: York Barbican, September 22, 2013
Ardal O’Hanlon is better known in mainland UK as the simpleton Dougal in Channel 4’s classic sitcom Father Ted, or as a rubbish superhero in My Hero, although he was a stand up comic long before that in Ireland.
I have always found O’Hanlon to be a likeable, amusing sort of chap without ever being “must see” on the stand up circuit, so I was intrigued to see a full length show from him.
We started with a support set from Edinburgh Comedy Awards Nominee Aisling Bea. She was nominated for best newcomer at this year’s Edinburgh Festival, and based on this performance, I can see why.
Her material was strong, covering several well worn topics (girls in nightclubs, going home to be disapproved of by parents) in a refreshing way, her stage persona just giving you the impression she is slightly off-kilter without alienating the audience.
Following an interval, O’Hanlon took to the stage, with his usual slightly shambling entry, sheepish look on his face to a huge round of applause.
He proved that there is more to him than just Dougal shenanigans with a meandering set covering his desire at being a footballer when he grew up, all the way to “sex is pretty good isn’t it?”
The crowd seemed to take to him immediately, chuckling along as he described his first chat show appearance and being a father. It seemed occasionally that he was just plucking things at random to talk about, but a general theme of getting old and having to be a grown up kept us running along nicely.
O’Hanlon possesses an easy charm, the youthful face of Dougal winning over even this most cynical of reviewers.
If you want hard hitting political satire, go see someone else. But for gentle, consistent laughs told with a wink and a knowing smile, you could do a lot worse than catch Ardal O’Hanlon on tour.
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