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Published November 25th, 2005 | by Jay Richardson

Ardal O’Hanlon Live In Dublin Review

Classification: 15 Director: Colin Fay Rating: 3.5/5

For many, Ardal O’Hanlon will always be Father Dougal Maguire. And it was the naïve nature of the Irishman’s stand–up that convinced Father Ted writers Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan to cast him as their young curate beset by juvenile dementia. Recorded live in Dublin, this concert film includes O’Hanlon making a rare reference to his time as “a pretend priest”, but then the anecdote this allusion anticipates is too fantastic not to mention – the true story of a straight–faced Washington Post article from 2005 that listed Dougal in the running to become the next Pope.

Now 42, O’Hanlon has shifted the emphasis of his live performances from bewildered innocence towards frustrated agitation at the world he inhabits. A father–of–three who claims to go out with his wife “for an argument” and keeps effigies of her for ritual burnings, he seems capably at ease with his grumpy old man persona.

“There comes a time in your life,” he maintains, “when you can’t take anymore crap.” Even so, O’Hanlon is still the ineffective eejit whose duels of honour turn into pillow fights, who attends anger management classes for advice on losing his temper and who remains oblivious to the fact that he’s being cuckolded by his ‘friend’ in an elaborate role–playing game with his wife.

Some of the material here, such as the touring comedian’s obligatory swipe at Ryanair are beneath a comic of O’Hanlon’s imagination. But other flights of whimsy, such as the crucial difference he observes between Islam and Christianity and the lifecycle of men’s pyjamas are delightful in their silliness. Elsewhere, he tackles Irish racism with a capably deft touch and throughout this gig you’re drawn in by his inherent charm and the understated modesty of his performance. Disappointingly, there are no extras on this disc.

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