A doofus is either one of three things, Dowdeswell tells us: an eccentric person, a buffoon, or an intriguing object (a ‘thingummy’). In the course of the show, his aim is to make us awash with doofuses of every variety, until we are blue in the face and cradling our aching ribs. Sadly this is just a pipe dream.
The problem with Doofus is simple: Dowdeswell never gets the bit between his teeth and truly goes for it. This may be down to a lack of confidence, or a lack of inspiration, but either way the consequences remain equally dire for the audience expecting a hilarious jaunt at The Stand. After long fumbling build-ups his jokes climax with weak blink-and-they’re-gone puns. This happens on more than one occasion and leaves the crowd feeling deflated and desperate for a real belly laugh worthy of their five quid. He tries to sing but even this change of tactic lacks commitment and real humour.
The end of the show finally brings out the comedian in Dowdeswell: his last segment tells the fateful tale of his audition to become the next ‘Tango’ man, armed with only his unbroken pride and a bright orange space hopper. This anecdote is well constructed and told with great vim and vigour. But alas, it is told after the real damage has been done. Hopefully, with more shows under his belt he will improve.
James Dowdeswell: Doofus, The Stand III & IV, 3-28 Aug (not 4 or 15), 4.45 pm
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