John-Paul Stephenson

Review: The Donny Donkins “As (Hopefully Soon To Be) Seen On TV!” Show – Baltic Square, Gateshead Quays

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Donny Donkins, the creation of Barry Castagnola, is so convinced that he will be spotted by TV execs that he has invested an inordinate amount of money into jazzy video graphics for his Edinburgh Fringe show, which he has brought to Gateshead Quays for Jesterval.

The ‘I want to be on the telly’ concept may sound a little familiar, but, unlike Partridge, whose arseiness was regularly apparent, deluded Donny Donkins actually seems a nice guy who has fallen for the Fringe’s promise of being spotted by a TV exec and catapulted to stardom.

So, although there are some parallels with Partridge, such as rudeness to colleagues (Partridge rebuked Glen Ponder; Donkins shouts at his tech op), Donkins’ likeability and vulnerability attracts a sympathy which Partridge doesn’t always manage.

There are some interesting features with audience participation, with the most interesting item being Candid Camera-esque footage of Donkins creating some mild mischief on the London streets during Thatcher’s funeral.

It takes Trigger Happy TV that one step further by antagonising people in a situation in which they might actually care about.

And while the politicians in last year’s brilliant The Revolution will Be Televised (BBC Three) had to look stoic in the face of hidden-camera piss-taking, Thatcher fans are keen, appropriately enough, to turn to fighting.

Donny Donkins is an interesting enough character even without the ‘give me a telly show’ conceit, which will always draw comparisons to Norwich’s first son, and there are enough ideas within this busy show to sustain the character, including, in dare I say it, a telly show.

Date of live review: Thursday 3 October 2013 @ Jesterval Comedy Festival

Jesterval runs at Baltic Square Gateshead Quays until Monday 7th October. The programme is on its website.