Mark ware­ham show of the week

The Mail on Sunday - Event - - COMEDY -

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.

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