Straight out of Australia – or the dreams of Australian ladies – David Quirk can aptly be described as quirky. From his small bus venue to his white faux-fur coat, nothing Quirk does in his hour long show is quite orthodox. His best quirks are funny and delightful, but his worst will make you squirm in your seat.
His act is ethereal from the moment he climbs up the steps of the bus and parts the smoke. This chimerical opening is narrated by the voiceover of a woman describing her dream about Quirk, and he tailors his actions accordingly. His show revolves around a skateboarding head-injury and subsequent accounts of forgetting what he’s doing mid-action. We’ve all gone downstairs for a pen and found ourselves staring blankly into our fridge without any notion of what we were looking for, but Quirk takes these small lapses to a mind-blowing level.
The audience stares at him, open-eyed, as he describes his unfortunate first encounters with both of his next-door neighbors. You want to yell, “no,” but you cannot move, the social anxiety paralyzing you head to toe as he lackadaisically recalls how he helped his neighbor get back into her house in the worst way possible. Unnecessary details make his recollection all the more tense and days later you’ll find yourself laughing nervously at the cringe-worthy conclusion.
Imaginative though his show may be, his upfront declaration that this will be his last show in a while saps some of the heart from the subsequent stories. The surreal opening and the comedy that inspired women to dream about him speaks to a more energetic, optimistic comedian than the one who takes the stage. He asks the audience a question, and instead of delivering a punchline, earnestly seeks an answer, pondering the thought processes of past crowds. Right before momentum grinds to a halt, he makes you sit up in your seat with some unpalatable beastiality material punctuated by much more painful silences.
Articulate and thoughtful, David Quirk clearly has a thing or two to say. In Cowboy Mouth, he lacks the focus and enthusiasm to say it.
Words: Emily Hall
David Quirk: Cowboy Mouth, Heroes @ Bob’s Blundabus, Aug 21-27, 8.45pm