Adelaide Fringe 2021
Paul McDermott, supported by Glenn Moorhouse, delivers a comedic and musical summation of COVID 19. From the lockdown, to immortality to Pete Evans, nothing is taboo in this 75 min blend of stand up and original songs. In true McDermott style, expect the unexpected, but be prepared to laugh until your ribs hurt.
With Glenn Moorehouse as the Plus One, Paul McDermott expertly delivers his new show in the Rhino Room’s central performing venue. The audience were met with a rather unusual ‘house music track’, called “Ram Ranch”, which McDermott later belittles on upon entering. Setting the scene with some self-deprecating old person humour, the first number “(Who Touched The) Touch Screen”, establishes the theme of the show, which was – of course – COVID 19. Interspersed with tales of his lockdown experience, his fascination with Adelaide’s seemingly oblivious nature of the virus (including tips on how to press the traffic crossing buttons), and the burdens of his own aging (did his beard need its own isolation room?) the audience wasn’t left much time to digest one song or joke, before the next one took over. “Scomo No Homo”, “Every City Feels like Canberra on a Sunday”, “The Boy on a Bicycle” and “Pete Evens Magic Machine” were just some of the songs that made it to the stage on opening night.
Finishing abruptly due to time constraints, McDermott berates himself (and his poor Plus One) for their failed timing and hinted that there were many more songs from his COVID 19 experience.
The Rhino Room, known as Adelaide’s home of comedy, is a suitably chosen home for the due, as the show relied on McDermott’s comedic storytelling as well as his voice. Unlike past performances, Plus One is a story with songs, rather than songs with a story. The stage is just big enough for McDermott to perform freely, and he uses the space masterfully as he spoke, sang, and danced throughout his performance.
Paul McDermott Plus One is a polished work in progress. The jokes – though clever, funny and very relatable – didn’t flow as well as they could have. McDermott and Moorehouse were able to overcome these performance glitches with their comedic banter, but the flow was interrupted slightly. The audience, however, filled with long-time fans of McDermott, were easily forgiving, and laughed alongside the performers. The abrupt conclusion of the show left the audience not only wanting more but wondering what they missed out on.
Despite these glitches, however, McDermott had the audience in the palm of his COVID 19-gloved and sanitised hands. Not even being labelled as old and decerped could dull the laughter in the room, and every song, joke, dance move and lost lyric was met with adoration admiration and applause. As a fan of McDermott for many (many) years, I – like much of the audience – appreciated not only the familiar humour, but his voice that seems to only be getting better.
Not only one for the fans, but one for anyone needing a great reason to get out and laugh at this funny thing we call COVID.