Vicar St, Dublin
Pat Shortt is a master of the art when it comes to lampooning the weird and wonderful characters of rural Ireland. From a deranged Craggy Islander on Father Ted to his award-winning lead turn on Garage and trailblazing success with his D'Unbelievables partner Jon Kenny, no one quite does it so well.
His latest show revisits another familiar hit creation, the North Tipperary country n' western superstar Dixie Walsh. Shortt's persona gate-crashed the hit parade with 'The Jumbo Breakfast Roll'. Resplendent in a canary yellow suit and ridiculous tie, he certainly looks the part while beautifully playing the role to a tee.
Shortt's Dixie takes to the stage lapping up the crowd's warm reception, hugging members of the audience and immediately hogging the limelight. He launches into a rambling and extremely idiosyncratic routine, which seemingly switches into Walsh's mother and former schoolteacher at the literal drop of a hat and donning of a wig. Predictably, nothing elicits a good belly laugh as effectively as Shortt (right) pretending to be an 'auld wan.
But there's more to it than meets the eye. Shortt drops some cracking lines about duffel coats that bring back memories of many people's school winter attire. "I suppose you've got cashmere up here now," Shortt playfully teases.
During his schoolteacher routine, he brilliantly takes task with an unsuspecting audience member, lambasting him for going to Mass. "That no more makes you a Christian than me sitting in McCarthy's garage makes me a car," he jibes.
Shortt ducks and dives through the aisles, quite literally bringing his show to the people. A few audience members take the opportunity to slip off to the bathroom. Needless to say, they receive an unmerciful slagging, but it's all in the spirit of fun and the polar opposite to the over-precious comedian relentlessly demanding the crowd's complete attention.
The show is Shortt but sweet, but fortunately not brief enough to raise any question marks over delivering value for money.
An elongated version of 'The Jumbo Breakfast Roll' ends the evening on a hilarious high. "This is not Leonard Cohen," Shortt exclaims. "If you want that, then f*** off to Kilmainham."
There are faint echoes of comedian Rich Hall's Otis Lee Crenshaw country persona, but this is a lot less dry and to be fair, much more craic. One of Ireland's most successful funny men seemingly has plenty of devilment up his sleeve, and it's a pleasure to witness it up close.