REVIEW: Daniel Oldaker is DANDYMAN

Ring in the silly season

By Myron My

Christmas, the festive season – the silly season some might say, especially if that person is Dandyman. Celebrating 20 years in the industry and having toured over 30 countries, the brains behind the silly, Daniel Oldaker, returns to The Butterfly Club as his alter-ego  in his Christmas-inspired show, Dandyman – Mocktales.

Dandyman

He appears on stage dressed in pyjamas but it’s not long until they come off and the trademark bright-blue suit with bow tie makes its appearance. Throughout the 30 odd-minute performance, Dandyman recalls various childhood memories of Christmas time accompanied by a variety of routines consisting of clowning, magic or dancing and sometimes all three. At one point, I distinctly feel like I am watching an episode of Mr. Bean, but one in which he speaks.

Oldaker has such a strong stage presence and is full of charisma, so it’s disappointing to see a number of these routines that feel surprisingly awkward and pointless. In contrast though, one of the more memorable scenes involves Dandyman reminiscing about his grandfather and the magic trick he used to perform to the grandchildren. It brought a feeling of quaint nostalgia to the audience as we were invariably led to thoughts of our own special family memories. There is also an intriguing thread of darkness running through Dandyman – Mocktales, of something ‘not quite right’ that is briefly touched, but which would have been brilliant for Oldaker to explore and take Dandyman into previously uncharted territories.

There appeared to be some repeated lighting and sound issues on the night I attended. While mishaps will occur with a live show and can often be overlooked, it is still quite awkward to the artist to have to stop the show and wait for the right track to be played. 

I’m one of the few people out there that doesn’t like Christmas nowadays. Call me a grinch if you must. Watching Dandyman – Mocktales is the most Christmassy thing I will be doing this year. While there is definitely room for improvement, I did enjoy some of the silliness and playfulness on stage and the memories of childhood Christmases it permitted me to revisit.

Venue: The Butterfly Club, 5 Carson Place, Melbourne
Season: Until 13 December | 7pm
Tickets: $32 Full | $28 Conc
Bookings: The Butterfly Club

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