Dylan Moran: Dr Cosmos (4 stars)

This article is from 2018

Dylan Moran: Dr Cosmos

credit: Andy Hollingworth

Poetically inventive and visually evocative set from this most distinctive of comedians

As Dylan Moran asserts, these are strange times. But he's inured to them. Not only did he grow up amidst the eccentricity of 70s and 80s Ireland, where his Catholic faith was lost over a Findus Crispy Pancake, but somewhat incredibly, he's also given up drinking, making everything seem 'trippy' regardless. Self-consciously pouring tea from a pot and nibbling chocolate, the once dipsomaniacal comic offers no concrete reason for his six-month abstinence, beyond some general, bemused reflections on his failing body. Yet he's unquestionably looking good on it, smiling devilishly with renewed energy, feigning some audience participation, his lyrical flights of fancy as poetically inventive as ever.

Positing himself as an Everyman, he's as grotesque in the morning shower as anyone, as grumblingly reluctant to attend a dinner party as the next man, and the least respected member of his household, fading into background irrelevance while the breakfast table becomes a theatre of war. Moran's visual imagery, in tandem with his rambling but forthright delivery, is so rich and evocative that you simply can't imagine another comic delivering his material.

From his opening descriptions of Donald Trump and Theresa May, the Irishman's deceptively casual dismissals invariably alight on the mot juste. No matter that some of these characterisations wouldn't stand up to scrutiny the next day, because many do. And it's the wild juxtaposition of disparate phenomena that's so marvellous.

Raising death as the logical endpoint or a prominent option in many arguments, with his funeral plan a hilarious alternative to burial or cremation, Moran's pessimism about the world is tempered by the palpable love for his wife that emerges from snapshots of their relationship, albeit rendered in the most unsentimental way. And though the Irishman claims to be retreating from the world's horrors, he does include a little bit of politics on faith schools and Jeremy Corbyn. As distinctive as ever, Moran is performing with renewed vigour, in spite of himself.

Dylan Moran: Dr Cosmos is on tour until Saturday 8 December. Seen at Theatre Royal, Glasgow, Saturday 15 September.

Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the information displayed here is accurate, always check with the venue before attending (especially during the Covid-19 pandemic).

Dylan Moran: Dr Cosmos

Curmudgeonly Irish stand-up who wrote and starred in the TV sitcom Black Books.

National Maritime Museum, London SE10

Wed 23 Sep

£13.75–£27.50 / 020 8858 4422

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