Mark wareham show of the week
On tour until Dec 8
Swilling an overfilled glass of rouge has always been Dylan Moran’s on-stage modus operandi. So it takes a while to adjust to him sipping in more genteel fashion from a nice cup of tea as he goes about his business. Eleven months without a drink and counting, and long may it last. The dishevelled Irish curmudgeon rips through two, taut 40-minute sets without hesitation, deviation or repetition, cramming his material with mots justes and wonderful lyrical flights of fancy.
In Dr Cosmos, Moran appears to be in complete comedy overdrive, at the height of his considerable powers. Theresa May, he observes, has ‘the only face I have ever seen that looks like it’s actively trying to crawl away from its human body’. Brexit, he reckoned, was like deciding whether or not to have mayonnaise on a s*** sandwich.
Mostly his inspired surreal imagery hones in on relationships and his heightened sense of self-disgust, always to the fore with Moran from an early age but especially so as he approaches 50. Catching sight of himself in the shower, he says, is like looking at ‘a pig standing in a phone box during a typhoon’.
It can be unexpectedly hard work for the audience trying to keep up, so dense and prolific is his script. There’s more packed into five minutes here than most banterers can manage during an entire show.
The second half steps it up still further, a giddy embarrassment of riches served up with throwaway abandon by this comic philosopher with a misanthropic bent. Despairing at the modern world, he reckons the workplace must be terrifying for the young ‘when you could be an app by Tuesday’.
He even manages a delightful impression of Alan Rickman as a cat.
It’s as if the mind of Dave Allen merged with the delivery of Eddie Izzard, but with an evocative beauty all of Moran’s own making. How often do you leave a show quoting lines at each other? More than just stand-up, it’s comedy as nourishment.