Edinburgh Festivals Magazine

Review: Ciarán Dowd – Padre Rodolfo at Pleasance

Review: Ciarán Dowd - Padre Rodolfo at Pleasance
4★★★★

He won Best Newcomer at the 2018 Edinburgh Comedy Awards and so, on the basis that there is no such thing as too much of a good thing, Dowd has brought back his alter (and now altar) ego, Rodolfo. He is a padre. Which is an odd choice for the famed womaniser, swordsman and general legend in his own lunchpack.

Before we have drawn breath he has burst into song, given most of the front row Holy Communion and baptised a baby. But there is work for this most highly sexed of cheese-loving clergymen. Evil is afoot. Well, evil is the devil, really and he is, we learn, among us.

We get backstory, side stories, pilgrimages and a manifestation of all our fears. It’s hilarious. The storyline changes faster than Dowd’s accent, which settles eventually somewhere at sea between Ireland and Spain, but what does that matter when he’s hearing our confessions, joining the infamous Order of Shadows, falling in love with a very dubious nun called Sandra and communing with an owl?

The story twists and turns like a possessed child being exorcised and Rodolfo offers up not just excitement and raw physicality but a couple of showtunes along the way. There is a Very Special Guest in the form (more the voice, really) of God, who is much more chilled and friendly than his book would have you believe.

This is the kind of wonderful, self-indulgent silliness that the Fringe needs more of. Dowd’s bravura persona, sweatily dramatic delivery and mesmerising way with a satanic threat to humanity make for a full-on entertaining hour. Animal rights activists should know that, despite quite a lot of evidence to the contrary, no owls were hurt in the making of this show.

Ciarán Dowd: Padre Rodolfo, Pleasance Courtyard, 31 Jul – 25 Aug (not 14), 9.45pm