Ciarán Dowd: Don Rodolfo at Soho Theatre
In a transcontinental journey that takes him all across Europe and its polar seasons, Don Rodolfo Martini Toyota (Ciarán Dowd) is back, four centuries later, to recount the tale of how the world’s greatest swordsman had sought revenge for the unlawful murder of his much-loved father.
Comedy is a genre that is difficult to manoeuvre, difficult because with its primary – if not solitary – purpose of making spectators laugh, one move off script could make it or break it for the performer in question. But not for Dowd. Best Newcomer at the 2018 Edinburgh Comedy Awards, Dowd knows how it’s done. From the very get-go, the entertainer takes the audience into the palm of his hands with his chivalry, charm and Mediterranean warmth, sharing a handful of tips – though dubious – on how to win at love, before sailing through time, back to yesteryear, to reveal who he really is. In essence, what begins as a stand-up act carefully blends into a narrative whose subject matter sheds light on questions pertaining to cultural identity, its norms and differences, as well as those concerning virility and all its implications.
This is a hilarious comedy of unstoppable force. Brace yourselves for an evening of sword fighting, ventriloquism, stylised innuendos and much more, including an unexpected plot twist at the end that speaks volumes about the biased notions of gender roles and the importance of overturning such stereotypes.
Dowd is definitely a newcomer to look out for. Effortlessly funny in his character of Don Rodolfo, the comedian’s show illuminates the general public’s need for escapism, appreciation of European culture and mannerisms. At a time when Britain is on the verge of leaving one of the closest political ties that has ever existed, the piece is confirmation that the appetite to remain close to Europe is still, and will always be, overwhelmingly solid.
Ciarán Dowd: Don Rodolfo is at Soho Theatre from 2nd until 4th May 2019. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.