Nihilsm meets whimsy and makes the world that bit better. [star rating =4/5]
Be fair. David O’Doherty’s stated aim of “trying to fix everything that is wrong with the world” is a challenge in an hour. Especially when you are performing in “a shitty lecture hall with a huge clock to remind you of your impending death”.
But give the man credit for having a go. With only his trusty keyboard by his side, and an auditorium full of people with “proper jobs, like bee-keepers” rather than “modern jobs, giving botox to a pitbull”, he says that all he wants from the gig is for everyone to feel truly alive.
And in that at least, he is triumphant.
His keyboard is the co-star of the show, languidly accompanying his Ode to the Internet and his tale of nightclub laundry antics (ridiculous, but not so ridiculous that it isn’t clearly true).
It also gives him the opportunity to show us his belly playing jazz chords, conceding that his stomach is a better keyboard player than he is.
O’Doherty is of sentimental mind these days. His despair at the current political landscape is clear throughout the show. In fact, despite his beautifully whimsical stories, he seems unwillingly drawn back into talking of the topsy-turvy world that is 2019.
He speaks of feeling old, of hiding from reality with box sets and sports podcasts, of his despair at the stability and peace that people seem too desperate to throw away.
This was matched only by the clear joy he has found in the rediscovery of his childhood racing bike and the simplicity of cycling. Lovingly repaired and updated, he declares that he wishes to buried with it in his very own Viking funeral.
He finishes the show by inviting everyone back again next year, and the next, and the next: same date, same seats. And such is his rapport with the room that you feel as if you are all at the coats-on stage in the pub saying, “we really should do this more often”.
Maybe next year we will be in a position concentrate on the whimsy rather than the nihilism.
But until then David, we will, “just keep moving forward. That’s all you can bloody do”.