Ciarán Dowd: Padre Rodolfo
- Brian Donaldson
- 12 August 2019
Fine follow-up from last year's Best Newcomer victor
That lover, fighter and 'writer of dogshit poems' is back after his puppet master, Ciarán Dowd, sauntered out of town with last year's Edinburgh Comedy Award Best Newcomer gong for a maiden voyage aboard the good ship Rodolfo. Now, the Don is back with that ropey Spanish accent (enabled with just the right amount of subtly Irish inflection) and a plot that you can really just forget in favour of rank silliness and swashbuckling chaos that ensues over 60 minutes.
The flimsy narrative which ultimately gets in the way of juicy delivery and icky puns now has Rodolfo in the priesthood and battling the devil at every turn as he attempts to sate his ardour in the form of a comely nun. The devil himself makes an appearance, initially audibly (as the Padre and Lucifer attempt to end a conversation like two lovers looking for the other one to hang up first) but then made flesh. And later he careers into our orbit via some less than subtle references to The Exorcist. A more palatable character is the owl who tries to keep Rodolfo updated on happenings down the Vatican, but the Pope's message can't be delivered due to the owl's inability to remember crucial details.
As the daft plot spirals to a conclusion, there's a genuine jump scare and a deadly fight to the finish with Beelzebub himself. But for all the mugging and special effects (a wheel of cheese brings untold doom to proceedings), the show lives or dies on Padre Rodolfo. And having earned the confidence that a big award can bring, Dowd has followed up his Don debut with another eyeliner-heavy portrayal of this Lothario rubbing up against evil incarnate. When it comes to convincing character comedy strung across one full hour, as George Michael insists in song prior to the show, you gotta have faith.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 25 Aug (not 14), 9.45pm, £9–£12 (£8–£11).