Dance Like No One’s David Callaghan’ acts as a potted history of the tropes of modern comedy – moving from the frantic energy of the Live at the Apollo Ilk to Stewart Lee-Esque self sabotage before collapsing into the sort of emotional breakdown that seems to be a stable of the Fringe over the last few years. While this formula comes across as a little uninspired, the content itself is as tightly wound as it is bursting with raw emotion and energy.
On the gag front, ‘Dance Like No One’s..’ is a little lackluster. There are many occasions when Callaghan’s performance makes out that what he’s saying is funnier than it actually is. He also struggles with jokes that he himself describes as “lacking mainstream appeal” relying on niche gags that don’t quite seem to garner a positive enough response from those who get them to warrant leaving the remainder of the audience alienated and sitting in silence.
The rest of the material mainly delves into the loneliness and feeling of uselessness attached to many members of the spoon-fed middle-class. Callaghan consistently refers to the lack of meaning to his work, quoting others as describing what he does as “privileged nonsense”. When he revels in this ‘nonsense’ while simultaneously judging himself, the show can be deeply entertaining – making use of an array of stage lights and props in a very tasteful manner. However, he seems to lack conviction in his belief of the worth of fun for the sake of fun, leaving the show as a whole with an unpleasant feeling of melancholic hopelessness.
That is perhaps the crux of the show’s problems. While fairly entertaining, and covering a wide range of emotional range in an impeccably smooth fashion, you still leave the show with a feeling that Callaghan is getting much more release than his audience.
Louis Boyd Madsen