Dado @ Gluttony – La Petite Grande
3:45pm, Mon 9 Mar 2015
Dado’s been coming to Adelaide for years: he’s an expected fixture at Gluttony now, with his Doorway Cabaret garnering larger crowds every year. But – apart from glancing at the Doorway as I ran past – I’d never actually seen any of his shows; I figured this year was the time to rectify that.
La Petite Grande was absolutely choc-a-bloc, with kids outnumbering adults by about three-to-two, and there were plenty of grumpy faces on the adults as they jostled for the best positions for their precious little snowflakes. But when Dado took to the stage, hunchbacked in a trench-coat with a suitcase full of promise, many of the children perched down the front were wary to the point of muteness; it took a lot of quickly (and expertly) made balloon animals to get them onside. But once he’d braved the storm of the initially reluctant children, Dado was free to engage them almost at will. He’d drag them centre-stage to bamboozle them with ball and balloon magic (resulting in some adorable moments of kiddy confusion), and even the more challenging (and free-spirited) kids were kept well under control.
It’s a largely mute performance (except when repeated “technical difficulties” required a soft, explanatory squeak) backed by music and sound effects summoned from an iPad, with light magic and buffoon-ish clowning the mainstay of his act. Dado doesn’t forget the adults, either, with the occasional risqué aside… but Dado’s universal charm is the real star of the show. Even the repeated mopping of his brow (it was bloody steamy in there!) was performed in an utterly endearing way; the relaxed, low-pressure hawking of additional souvenirs upon exit was also wonderfully managed. Dado proved himself to be a true gentle giant of clowning.
— Pete Muller (@festivalfreakAU) March 9, 2015