Review: The Not So Late Show at Dropkick Murphy's

Oh dear. As a reviewer, I’ve hit on one principle that I think seems pretty reasonable: only review what you see in front of you.

With that in mind, what follows is probably not representative of most nights for the Not So Late Show, but nevertheless should persuade you to go.

To set the scene: for those of you haven’t been, Dropkick Murphy’s is built to the design of a WW2 bomb shelter, but huge. Consequently, getting any kind of an atmosphere going is a challenge with a full crowd. Unfortunately, Sunday evening was not a full crowd. Sunday evening’s audience consisted of about 14 people. Despite this, Josh and Ross take to the stage with every appearance of eagerness, and feed themselves into the meat grinder that is playing to an empty room with a show that’s not a laugh-a-minute performance to begin with.

I’d better explain: The Not So Late Show is a Free Fringe show that draws off the classic American late night talk show format. Featuring guests such as Freddy Mercury and the Ferrero Rocher man, the level of inventiveness required to reinvent your whole script every few days is deeply impressive. The style, however, means that jokes need to be built up to; when they reach the punchline they’re great, but without a crowd around you to ride the high from the last laugh, the wait was difficult for everyone. Nevertheless, Ross and Josh play off each other fluently, and actually managed to pull off a damn good gig. The guest spots are funny, their choice of guest comedian played well, and their audience interaction was fluent. A few gags didn’t get through, but again, when you’re faced with a group that hardly seems large enough to call a crowd, it’s a miracle that any took off at all.

This style of kamikaze comedy shows nerves of steel. Talking to the performers after the show, the level of care and thought that goes into the routine became immediately apparent, and they don’t like to sit on a script for long, already planning new gags. You’d have to go a long way to find a Free Fringe show as inventive as this. Overall, The Not So Late Show demonstrated a level of experience and confidence that’s deeply impressive. I’m definitely going back to catch them on a busier night, and I invite you all to join me.
The Not So Late Show, Dropkick Murphy’s, 13-26 Aug (not 14, 21), 8pm
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