City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Doug Anthony All Stars (DAAS) Near Death Experience, Pleasance, Fringe Review

By Irene Brown - Posted on 13 August 2017

Doug Anthony All Stars_Avalon_pressimage 2.jpg
Show details
Avalon Promotions Ltd
Running time: 
Paul Mcdermott, Tim Ferguson and Paul 'Flacco' Livingston

In 2016, Australia’s subversive musical comedy trio the Doug Anthony All Stars (DAAS) returned to Edinburgh’s Fringe after nearly 30 years with their show Rebirth Reunion.

Their latest show, Near Death Experience, opened this ‘magical misery tour’ of the self-proclaimed ‘unholy trinity’ in the same way, with examples of DAAS artwork from ‘89 – ’95 in a slide show, then the deceptive oom pah pah sounds of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ I Put a Spell on You.

Again, a lugubrious Paul 'Flacco' Livingston, he of the painted curl on his bald head, opens with a brief comedy turn before his utter silence during the rest of the show, apart from some impressive guitar playing.

From the ‘pensioner’, (a fill in the affirming blanks to describe a now bearded Paul McDermott) and the ‘cripple’ that form DAAS, whose name is a parody of Doug Anthony, the former right-wing Deputy Prime Minister of Australia, comes a barrage of relentless, irreverent, fearless humour that’s not without cruelty, but DAAS has a long standing license in this arena. By the way, don’t heckle the Dougs unless you have a thick skin.

They also reprise some self-referential stuff about band reunions and their finale repeats them singing with a video of their younger selves on screen. That said, there is some new material. DAAS still manages to shock and entertain in equal measure with jokes about speech impediments, dyslexia, the Australian National Disability Insurance Scheme and of course sex, all done through chat, song and against a screen showing Warhol style brain scan images.

Despite an apparent lack of travel insurance because of his MS, original band member Tim Ferguson has braved a long journey to Edinburgh from Oz. It seems there’s a bonus in getting through customs in a wheelchair! With a menacing cheerfulness, he makes hand movements and asks, “What am I doing now?” and shares his motto ‘Whistle as you stare death in the face’.

Within the brash outrageous humour is the strong message of the importance making the most of every day we have in this world with or without a glass licking fetish. As Tim says at the end, “Tick f***ing tock”.

5-27 August (not 7,8, 14,15, 21, 22) at 22.00 age recommend 14 +