Nic Wright

Review: Dylan Moran, Off The Hook, Newcastle City Hall

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“There are only four stages of life; childhood, failure, old and dead.”

Dylan Moran seems to be convinced that he is past his prime. Now tubby, sexless and increasingly sidelined in the world, his new show Off The Hook is filled with the sort of mumbling, vitriolic bemusement that Moran has made his forte.

Though Moran seems utterly sincere in resigning himself to a slow, confused descent into the grave, his misery at least succeeds in bringing joy to those he subjects to his meandering, doleful charm.

Moran’s comedy is one of genuine perplexity; the comedy of an outsider who has found themselves on the inside.

Tackling the General Election, marriage, his fading relevance in a world obsessed with youth and “Edwardian cricketer beards”, Moran’s choice of targets isn’t exactly reinventing the wheel, but as the old saying goes, it’s the way he tells ’em.

The lilting Irishman never tells you what to think, but rather employs a knack for shining a light on things we take for granted, illuminating their true ridiculousness in side-splitting fashion.

Putting such a refreshing and oddly beautiful spin on the human condition, for a show that is powered by unadulterated cynicism, it’s oddly warming.

Impressionistic, peculiar, and wonderfully lyrical, Moran’s real gift is the ability to paint colorful, warped images of the mundane and domestic that make no sense, and yet perfect sense all at once.

Whether recounting the escape of the family hamster into glorious epic, with Shawshank-like undertones, or summarising the attitudes of nations with succinct, often touching accuracy, Moran has the mind of a philosopher, the heart of a poet and the timing of a true comedy great.

An inimitable combination; even if it does come with the gut of a middle-aged man.

His son may ignore him, young people may openly mock him in the street, but if this show is anything to go by, Moran certainly isn’t past it yet.

Date of live review: Saturday 25 April 2015