Review: Bob Doolally’s Euro Crisis – The Stand (3), Edinburgh.
Bob Doolally shuffles onto the stage, bottle of vodka readily to hand. An oversized blazer fails to hide a ludicrously high-waisted pair of trousers, his appearance reminiscent of a certain current England football manager. Welcome to Bob Doolally’s Euro Crisis, Paul Sneddon’s football themed character comedy show.
Bob Doolally has been around a bit. Bemoaning the advent of Twitter, the old school football coach reminisces about the days he needed to put cards in newsagent windows to start a hate campaign against Bobby Charlton. He has turned out for a variety of famous teams, including Wolves, Wolverhampton, Spurs, and even Tottenham! If you understood that reference then this show is for you, as the football banter rarely strays off course for the full hour.
Sneddon is clearly a huge football fanatic, incorporating up to the minute gags into his Arsenal (pun definitely intended). This makes the show appealing to only a very specific audience, those not in love with the beautiful game are advised to steer well clear. Some decent material about the extracurricular activities of wayward Hibs and Hearts players is linked neatly with a sustained attack on Ally McCoist. Some deliberately lame puns about his roster of ex wives bring an air of levity to proceedings, Sneddon effectively playing on the stereotypes associated with retired footballers.
Doolally is, however, a difficult character to warm to. Slurring his speech and accentuating the Scottish accent makes him often hard to understand, while some of the later material is incredibly lazy. Obvious gags about Thailand and women’s boxing fall flat, while even some of the football japery is weak. It is hardly scintillating stuff, for example, to loudly proclaim to the audience how shit Greenock Morton are at football. A little more seriously, some of the darker moments border on the unpleasant. Disabled children and the Munich Air disaster are rarely considered subjects rich in comic potential, and Doolally proves to us exactly why.
The show is finished with a question and answer session, with the crowd invited to shout out their thoughts. This is a risky strategy at the best of times, and Sneddon labours under the pressure of improvisational comedy. Most inquiries are met with either a serious answer, or a return to material already covered for an easy laugh.
As a football fan, I am exactly the target audience for this type of show. But unfortunately, Doolally relies too heavily on the inebriation of his crowd, resorting to tired ‘laddish’ banter all too frequently instead of constructing a well thought out character. Boozed up football louts may find something to enjoy, but everyone else should probably stay clear.
Date of live review: Monday 20th August 2012.