Dreams are a strange thing to tell someone else about, especially when that person features in them. That’s the opening conceit of David Quirk’s Cowboy Mouth. Quirk has received multiple messages from people he has either never or only briefly met detailing dreams he featured in, so he has asked the dreamers to record an explanation of the dreams, which play periodically through the show. As is often typical with dreams, ‘odd’ is probably the best way of characterising them, as they are beholden only to their own strange logics, and not to reality or story structures.
Made up of anecdotes and joke setups, Cowboy Mouth is more of an extended stand-up set than the kind of constructed ‘festival show’ you find elsewhere at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Although not necessarily a weakness by any stretch, considering the strength of David Quirk’s comedic skills and delivery, it does leave the show’s closing feeling a little empty and arbitrary. The only major problem David Quirk’s Cowboy Mouth has is that it is enjoyably competent comedy in a festival overflowing with shows just like it, but it lacks that certain something that would set it above the rest. As a reviewer, this is a difficult thing to be saying about someone who has gone to the trouble of writing and financing their show, but it would be easier if I could say Quirk was not worth seeing.
But he is. Quirk is consistently funny, with a self-assured stage presence and excellent delivery. If you’re after guaranteed, comfortable laughs, Cowboy Mouth is a safe choice,
Cowboy Mouth is on at 9:45 pm at the Melbourne Town Hall until 23 April as part of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Tickets are available online or at the festival box office.