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Pat's old culchie act falls Shortt

DIXIE Walsh's background makes for a fairly short story. What's that? You've never heard of Dixie Walsh? Sure, he's the lad who used to sing about jumbo breakfast rolls. The one in the yellow suit. Well, he's not real, you know -- he's just a character. One of Pat Shortt's most popular comic creations, too.

Tonight, there's an audience for Dixie in Vicar Street (or should that be 'an audience with'?). Some of them are old friends of his (but not really). Others have toured around the country with him (but not really). And then there's his mother, who also spots several of her friends in the crowd.


Confused? Don't be. Shortt is, of course, playing by the usual rules. The 45-year-old's characters may be fictional, but they're also an amalgamation of various home truths and traits. Indeed, Shortt has based an entire career around playing the same parts; by stepping off the stage and into his audience for a series of hilarious and often unpredictable interactions. So, why stop now? Well, a few too many empty seats could be a sign that people have had enough. And following up D'Unbelievables' reunion was never going to be easy.

The comedy equivalent of a greatest hits show, last year's wonderful comeback from Shortt and his creative soul mate, Jon Kenny, explored all the best bits from the duo's illustrious career together. I Am The Band, however, feels like a rushed decision.

It may have been a smart concept to begin with -- dreaming up a history and career timeline for Ireland's "true music legend" (Dixie, apparently). But the follow-through is both lazy and clumsy. You can't fault Shortt's energy or enthusiasm, but even that isn't enough to save this show. Which, for the most part, involves Dixie discussing his school days, his love of older women and his Leonard Cohen phase. Oh, and he'll play some songs, too.

Unfortunately, it's not very funny.

And I know what you're thinking: Pat Shortt playing the old 'stupid culchie' card again -- that one got old years ago! And you'd be right.

But even at his most predictable, he at least had the decency to write a good joke.

Time to go back to the drawing board, Pat. HHIII