Ardal's not as naive as he looks

I had mixed expectations heading to see Ardal O'Hanlon's stand up tour.He is probably best known for his roles as Father Dougal McGuire in Father Ted, and that of Thermoman in My Hero.

I had mixed expectations heading to see Ardal O'Hanlon's stand up tour.

He is probably best known for his roles as Father Dougal McGuire in Father Ted, and that of Thermoman in My Hero. One represents one of the greatest, sharpest sitcoms of recent years, the other an anaemic piece of dross that eventually petered out in the mire of Sunday afternoon TV.

O'Hanlon has also authored a novel that is much darker than the froth of his small screen comedy might suggest.

Thankfully, the audience at the Corn Exchange were treated to an on-form performance that mixed all these sides of his personality: warm, engaging, and hardly lacking depth.


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His topics were not exceptional - the busy nature of modern life, family relationships, even a minor detour on the Iraq war - but each was treated with a surrealist edge that rescued the material from the too frequent fate of descending in to predictable angry rants.

He frequently exhorted us to “stand up to tyranny” but happily admitted to his own pathetic attempts to hit back.

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Refreshingly he didn't shy away from acknowledging his debt to Father Ted, telling how the Washington Post faithfully reported him as a 1000-1 contender to become Pope, but it is clear too that he has moved on.

Perhaps the most disappointing part of the gig was the muted audience reaction, which wasn't helped by the venue being seemingly only half full. Given the poor turnout for Sean Hughes, what is it about Ipswich that doesn't get comedy?

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