Here’s another comic that we’ve never seen live before – in fact, I’m not sure I’ve really seen him at all before. I knew he had a good reputation from his Googlewhack concept – and he can be very entertaining on twitter. So I thought it was high time I broke my Dave Gorman virginity. And I saw at first hand that he’s hugely popular! The Milton Keynes theatre was packed out on a Monday night. All ages were represented, but I’d say there were many more boys than girls. It’s not often that the queue for the gents is that long in a theatre interval.
I was a bit concerned that the powerpoint presentation aspect to the show would end up crushing the spontaneity of the performer with the audience. When we saw Jimmy Carr last year, I really didn’t enjoy the sequences when he lectured us with accompanying powerpoint illustrations on a projected screen. It inhibits the comedy rather than releases it. And I’m afraid I think the same applied to Mr Gorman. His act is beautifully hand-crafted, like an exquisite Strictly Come Dancing costume; but (I’m guessing) everything he says has to follow his pre-ordained powerpoint sequence, and he hasn’t got much scope to deviate from his script. This is not a criticism, but never before have I seen such a major comic act hardly engage with the audience at all. He looks at us a lot, and talks to us, but he doesn’t meet us. The whole performance is not so much a stand-up, more a one-man comic play.
A good example of this is that a few seats behind us was a man who sat through the entire evening guffawing at the top of his voice, at times making the rest of the audience laugh at him, at other times really getting on everyone’s nerves. I am sure every other comic I have seen would have made some reference at some point to this extraordinarily noisy bloke. But Dave Gorman ignored it totally and kept on with the script. I sensed that if there were a fire in the circle he would have carried on regardless.
That’s not to say the show isn’t funny, because it is. There are lots of amusing observations about the nonsenses of life. If you like your internet stuff, and are a facebook and twitter user, there are loads of references which will absolutely hit the mark with you. A lot of his material is rather egocentric, although not in a big-headed way; for example, there is a long sequence about the fact that he is often mistaken for being Jewish; he talks, and shows, the photographs people submit to him online that are meant to be look-alikes of him; he talks about his weight, and his experiments with odd diets; his twitter arguments; and so on. He doesn’t seem to involve other people in his observations much. It came across to me as being rather introverted comedy.
It didn’t help that he was over-amplified, a common problem at the Milton Keynes Theatre, so sometimes his speech sounded a little distorted where we were in Row A. When he spoke loudly and fast – sometimes very fast – I honestly couldn’t discern some of the words. At the end of the show he announced, I think, that he would be in the foyer doing some signing; but actually what I heard sounded like an angry dog refusing to let go of a chew.
He is supported by comedy songsmith Jay Foreman, who gives us a nice warm up act with some very imaginative songs. The next morning we were still singing about the Moon Chavs. He must have sold a lot of CDs in the interval, judging from the queue.
In conclusion, I was a little disappointed – but I readily admit I’m sure I was in the minority.