Dan Willis – RadioHead (FringeTIX)
Dan Willis @ Bull & Bear
9:00pm, Fri 16 Mar 2007
Not initially on the shortlist, I sought tickets for Radiohead on the advice of my ex-boss: “it’s a must-see, make sure you book early!” he intoned. Book early… right. I bought my ticket at 3pm on the day of the performance, and – with the room only half-full on a Friday night – I’m not sure it necessitated the emergency run to a FringeTIX office.
Dan Willis, as he mentions more than a few times, is an observational humourist. He tells stories, accompanied by his little flip-chart of associated images and the odd song or two. He also hates the audience talking. Or making noise. And he’s serious about it… he heard chatter a few times during the show and dropped into stone-faced mode, explaining his rules of etiquette to the perpetrators in elaborate detail.
Now, normally I’m supportive of The Artist laying the rules down and getting heavy with a shitty audience – but something in his manner just pissed me right off. Shouldn’t he be applying his craft to amusingly toy with rogue audience members like bound kittens? Apparently not – his comedic superpowers are restricted to telling rudimentary stories with limited humour and creating a plethora of laugh-free dead zones. Even the use of music as triggers for his stories failed to inspire much interest.
Thinking back, not one story or joke or meme leaps out and grabs me. I know I laughed at some point, but I’ve no idea at what. But that’s the problem, really – raised expectations, coupled with a “meh” show, leads to one being hugely underwhelmed.
I guess my takeaway from this performance was the knowledge what word-of-mouth really means to a show like this – I know myself and six ex-co-workers wouldn’t have come to this performance were it not for the (misguided) ravings of my ex-boss. I guess it’s just as well no-one reads these posts, then, lest Dan Willis would be getting even fewer peeps to his shows; because this was a decidedly average performance, unworthy of consideration in the face of far more enjoyable entertainment.