I’m the kind of critic you want at your show. I’m inclined to see the best in an act, and I come to shows willing to be amazed, not with my asshole hat on. That being said-
Mr Dabek’s flyer says he ‘weaves a web of comedy, magic, and lies.’ I didn’t realize his claim of comedy and magic was the lie. He started his show off with his enthusiasm and flair, flicking cards around and peacocking all around the stage. A valid and exciting start to the show, but it went rapidly downhill from there.
I don’t want to make this review all about his showmanship (although I do love critiquing showmanship) but that is the only thing there was to observe. He did no actual magic, so I can’t assess any skill in that. And I didn’t notice any comedy either, aside from a validly amusing NHS joke that a lot of comedians would have skipped on the grounds of being to easy.
So, showmanship it is. He was terrible. Paul mistook ‘loud’ to mean ‘funny’ and instead of ‘flirting with the audience’ went for ‘skeeving on the audience’. Sometimes he took a break from jumping around and shouting to be actually, overtly offensive. He indulged in some moderate racism- oh I’m sorry, xenophobia. Then, upon bringing a girl onstage, became rudely dismissive of her upon learning she had a girlfriend.
Mr Dabek has the right inherent enthusiasm, but he needs to get some skills- and a new personality.
Disclaimer though: I did not stay for the whole performance. I was with friends, and they were way to sick of his asshole ways. We finished our drinks and left. But we had been there way long enough that the tone for the show was set.
But feel free to disagree with me! Paul Dabek is on at the 2014 Edinburgh Festival Fringe at the Jam House on August 11, 13, 15-18, 20-22 at 21:30.