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Review: Dara O’Briain – Voice of Reason

Welcome to Sheffield
Welcome to Sheffield

Dara O’Briain’s new show, Voice of Reason, is the perfect showcase for his own brand of imaginative storytelling, whether discussing the pitfalls of VR headsets, the everyday feeling of shopping for a tapestry or the separation anxiety you feel when the builders finally leave, his ability to universalise experiences for his audience exemplifies his acute observational skills and breadth experience in the entertainment industry.

The nerdy enthusiasm with which Dara discusses science and technology is infectious. He highlights the joyful potential of Amazon Alexa to terrify your family from afar in a way that celebrates the possibilities for inventiveness and fun inherent in new technologies. He revels in moments of imperfection, such as the ability of voice recognition software to publicly undermine you at a crucial moment, in a way that encourages his audiences to embrace the flaws of technology rather than to criticise.

The comedy of embarrassment is also a recurring theme in his show. Whether at the hands of an exasperated doctor, an amused policeman, or the discovery of someone else’s Google search history he toys with the moments of awkward uncomfortableness that pepper all our social interactions.

From accidental misquotes to the appearance of a click-bait article graphically describing his death at the hands of maverick driver Mark Bean, O’Briain points out the pockets of hilarity in his everyday life whilst critiquing the nature of modern media. His witty, cerebral assessment of his role as a broadcaster on Stargazing Live is both highly entertaining and hints at the impossibility of pleasing your entire audience, no matter how hard you try. Although, it cannot be denied that what we all aspire to in life is to find someone that looks at them the way that Dara looks at Professor Brian Cox.

His confidence and fast-paced delivery transforms his descriptions of middle aged life into a riotous vision of jocular domesticity. Having fine-tuned his observational abilities over the years, O’Briain delivers a masterfully written performance that builds on itself throughout the show. However, it is also a routine that draws at attention to its own creation process, discussing the ways in which comedians must make their work applicable to the Latinos of Northern Norway and acceptable to the strict censorship laws of Dubai. Dara O’Briain’s hilarious Voice of Reason cuts through the static of modern life and proves, once again, why he is the uncontested, charismatic face of British nerdiness.


See tickets here.