The Late David Turpin – Smock Alley Theatre – Dublin Fringe Festival – Review


I saw David Turpin‘s show in last year’s Fringe Festival so I had high expectations for this year’s performance. I was even happier at that the fact it was taking place in Smock Alley Theatre’s main space – for ‘tis such a wonderful auditorium.

The 7-strong choir (slowly and one by one) took to the darkened stage 5 minutes after the advertised time, followed quickly enough by Hunter-Gatherer (the guy on the computer) and Mr. Turpin himself. A few songs in and I was starting to feel a little dozy – the backing-track music wasn’t off-putting or anything (and the delivery of the songs was clean and professional) but the atmosphere was unexpectedly and overwhelmingly sedate. I was starting to seriously worry – and to regret handing over my hard-earned cash for the ticket – until, that is, David opened his mouth to ‘gabble’ (as he puts it) after the third or fourth song ended!

The atmosphere changed completely from that moment on and the missing spark or much-needed buoyancy finally arrived in the form of David dishing out some pre-watershed Julian Clary-esque puns! Half-comedian/half-singer, David’s stage personality finally started to entice the audience into his eccentric, animal-centred world; enabling the songs to penetrate the veneer of the overly polite atmosphere in a way that wasn’t possible before he decided to gabble so endearingly.

From here on in, the show pretty much blossoms and it becomes clear that the new material is excellently produced, composed and extremely poptastic. Songs like ‘Bear of a Star,’ ‘Garland,’ ‘Howl’ and ‘Cloud’ are delivered in an exquisite and sublime manner and we are even treated to some humorous audience participation in the form of a tall heckler who ends up on the stage doing a reprise of ‘The Bone Dance’-dance in tandem with David for an unplanned pre-encore encore!

In short: a wildly academic and very Lynchian electro-pop evening – but in the most delightfully entertaining way imaginable (after a bit of a false start that is!)


The Late David Turpin’s new album We Belong Dead is out now. Download it from iTunes HERE. David performed at Smock Alley Theatre on Sunday, September 15th as part of the Dublin Fringe Festival 2013. 

Matthew Barks

(Live photo courtesy of Karen Howley)

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