Dave McNeill: Canoe Ride 3000
Surreal silliness that goes for the easy laugh
This article is from 2012.
Dave McNeill works hard. After an hour the vast amount of sweat dripping from his shirt is matched only by the volume of jokes he tries to wring from his surreal material. Describing a journey to China in a canoe, the plot of the show definitely falls into the category of 'wacky adventures' and continues in the vein of the profoundly silly. Going for every joke, from waving his arms around apropos of nothing to repeating slightly funny-sounding words, he ends up paddling around on-stage looking demented. Yet buried beneath the high-energy nonsense are a couple of lovely set pieces, in particular his retelling of Robin Hood.
The most intriguing moments are when he allows his character to reflect on his oddity and, in some cases, fondness for just making stuff up. The incongruence between McNeill playing a ridiculous character with complete conviction yet maintaining an awareness of the character's hyperbole offers a more interesting take on kerazy character shenanigans and potentially greater rewards, while going for every laugh, including the cheap ones, devalues the pay-offs he rightfully earns.
Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 26 Aug (not 14), 3.30pm, £8--£10 (£7--£9).