You know the hardest review to write? When the comedian is just really funny. No bells or whistles but just a fantastically charismatic performer who makes an entire audience laugh for sixty minutes and is a joy to be in the presence of. That show would be Danny O’Brien’s RaconTour and it is absolutely worth your time.
Before we begin the lights go dark and a projector plays a short POV film of Danny on his bike riding around Ireland, going to gigs, meeting folk and finally getting to the Edinburgh Fringe. Conversations continue loudly around me, the 22:20 start time this Friday night ensures that the crowd are suitably lubricated for the show. We all start applauding as someone approaches the stage however it turns out to be a roadie to take away the projector so we all stop clapping and laugh to ourselves embarrassed.
RaconTour centres around O’Brien’s uncle suffering a stroke and giving him his motorbike, chronicling the subsequent struggles he’s gone through in being able to ride said bike. A wonderful section sees O’Brien walk us through attempting to pass his motorcycle test and the hilarious defeats he suffered. His storytelling and world building really bring us into the situation, carefully setting up the characters involved and how the events unfold. Along with the motorbike, a key jigsaw piece of the show is O’Brien’s ongoing quest to link up with his father that forms a narrative backbone to these stories.
Later we get to hear about the worst gig of O’Brien’s life, which involves a seven hour motorcycle ride and a very difficult audience who love German eighties music, as well as an unbelievable story involving two brothers who I’m surprised are still alive. O’Brien frames these against an Irish culture of reveling in other people’s misery and winding people up for no reason. No one wants to hear the best or happiest story, he claims at one point and well, yeah, he’s right.
Photos courtesy of John Murray.
Danny O’Brien’s RaconTour runs until 27th August at Underbelly, Cowgate, 22:20.