Arts Review: Dylan Moran: Off The Hook

Dylan Moran, King’s Theatre, 13th March 2016

In Collaboration with Glasgow International Comedy Festival

The Off The Hook tour sees Irish comedian Dylan Moran criss-crossing the country to chat to audiences about the perils of aging: kids, marriage and the tendency for new pets to just die on you.

Getting older suits the former Black Books star, giving a character who was always happiest with something to rail against, a whole host of new irritations to disparage. The funniest moment of the night is a riff on hipster coffee shops, hilarious not for its original insight but for Moran’s brilliant combination of off kilter observation, hangdog exasperation and a voice rising in pitch as the degradations of being no longer hip pile up. By the end of it, the audience are rolling in their seats and he casts a glance around the auditorium with a gleam in his eye.

The misanthropic comic lives in Edinburgh now with his wife and kids and the focus of the show is the familiar horrors that face him in his daily life when he can’t just escape on tour: feeling miserable while quitting smoking, getting fat and the horrors of watching daytime tv.

Moran is not afraid to pick some risky targets either though, with both Scottish nationalism and Great British Bake Off coming in for some heat. The best description though is saved for George Osborne who Moran describes as looking “like he can’t wait to get home to his other job: fucking dead people until bits fall off”.

His material on the differences between him and his wife is a bit predictable but most of his grumbles have a Scrooge-like charm and when he reveals that alongside his multi-skilled wife his job is “to taste crisps” the whole audience bursts into laughter. Ending with his surrealist version of 50 Shades of Grey, it’s clear that even with a few more years under his belt, Moran is a consummate performer who for all his dejected demeanour is never any happier than when he is onstage.

[Max Sefton – @MaxSefton]

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