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Zoë Coombs Marr: Dave – The Opener

  • Comedy, Comedy festival
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
Comedian Zoe Coombs Marr as her alter ego Dave
Photograph: MICF
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Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

The latest show from this most meta of comedians is an absolute riot

What’s more meta than your (a)typical Zoë Coombs Marr comedy show? A Zoë Coombs Marr show in which she opens for her heinous alter ego – neckbearded dudebro comedian Dave –occasionally wresting control back of her/his body during various Russian Doll-like time loop shenanigans fuelled by (not so) micro-dosed acid. 

It’s a riot, in other words. But one that’s impeccably crafted to seem totally out of control while being devastatingly trained on its prime target. And that is the awfulness of some comedians who have refused to move with the times since Dave last appeared in 2016 (here’s looking at you, recent Grammy winner, and you, Netflix special type who just loves punching down on trans folk). 

It’s the sort of rule-upending gig where Marr, wrapped in a dressing gown, delivers a trigger warning for anyone unfamiliar with Dave’s dickhead schtick. Flagging his penchant for bodily fluids before spurting some fake blood of her own, she blurs boundaries from the off. She also spoils the show’s finale early on, and yet said spoiler will still crack you up when it eventually swings around. That’s the mark of a smart comedian, that they can fool you twice. 

The deliriously fun way into this mayhem, nestled in the Arts Centre’s Fairfax Theatre, is that Dave fell into a coma shortly after we saw him last. So he’s wrestling with some pretty massive shifts in thinking. As Dave reads it, the #Metoo movement is a wave of solidarity supporting Harvey Weinstein and his fellow abusers, one that rails against the cancel culture of mean Twitter feminists. 

Of course he does. His ridiculously dumb handle on things constantly underlines what Marr’s really thinking. It’s a reverse-horror movie when she repossesses the conversation, and Dave just can’t handle it. Mind-melting in the very best way, The Opener is yet another powerhouse performance from one of our finest (and one of our worst). When a certain slap makes its way into their set, let’s just say it’s Oscar-worthy. 

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