David McIver: Teleport
PBH’s Free Fringe @ Banshee Labyrinth – Cinema Room
12:20 (ends 25th August)
⭐⭐⭐⭐ (4 stars)
An important note – this wasn’t really stand-up. It was a solo show that contained comedy throughout. In ‘Teleport’, David McIver was trying to re-create a roleplay, online game whilst simultaneously tackling what’s it’s like to be a teenager and coping with illness in the family. It’s very funny but suddenly takes a serious, making you realise that the moments that you had originally laughed at are perhaps the most heart-breaking.
David McIver’s show is interactive; he takes you on a quest and shows you the different parts of a roleplaying game so that even if you are not familiar with the concept, you will be by the end of the show. The audience becomes part of the show and if you like audience participation, this show is full of it. He’s charming, incredibly approachable and generally really friendly which is why you want to be part of the show, you want him to tell you a Death Story or reveal your future. He had to change quickly between the different characters that you meet along the way and brought them all to life, as each of them were distinct and unique in their own way.
It is essentially a sarcastic and snarky commentary that makes fun of all of the tropes that exist in role playing games. He intersperses these comments with unasked remarks that you would think a teenager would say. This is partly to remind us of his age but also as a way to hide what the show is really about, something that is told gradually and permeates throughout the show and is hinted at but you aren’t aware of where it is going or how important it is until the very end. You don’t expect it a show about online role-playing games like World of Warcraft to have a deeper meaning, but this one does and that’s what makes it so interesting to watch,
His use of sound is very clever since the cues have to be very precise in order for it all to work. The best part of his audio was the use of Siri – or something along the lines of a computer reader – in order to act as a stand in for his mother. At first you accept his explanation for why it sounds so robotic and you think it’s all part of the joke, or just a clever way for him to have a conversation with an unseen character.
It’s hard for me to write this review mainly because it’s a very difficult show to sum up or describe it in such a way that does it justice without completely giving everything away. I enjoyed it very much, but I can’t imagine how much time, effort, energy and emotion it took in order to perfect this play and to reveal so much about such a hard time in a way that is light – hearted and that will attract audiences. You can’t help but being moved by his story whilst simultaneously being entertained, which is a very odd feeling. We all have our coping mechanisms – some healthier than others – and it was incredibly brave of David McIver to share his. It’s a hard sell but definitely worth going to see. Bring tissues – you will need them for all of the laughter.
Katerina Partolina Schwartz (Twitter: @katpschwartz)