While this may be Dane Simpson’s Edinburgh solo debut, he’s a seasoned comic back home in Australia – both on his own and as part of hit First Nations show Aborigi-LOL. Didgeridoozy thus has Simpson in that sweet spot between giddy nervousness and hyped-up excitement; perfect for a late rainy Thursday night on the eve of the Fringe’s official kick-off.
Sporting a simple t-shirt emblazoned with the phrase ‘Kind Is Cool’ (a passionately ethical Aussie brand), Simpson embodies that philosophy with his warm, inclusive comedy. Not that it’s toothless – there’s a bit of bite, a bit of commentary, and some gags are dished out with boyish cheekiness – it’s just mostly heartening tales and observations from his life. Not every show at the Fringe needs to be a headily self-aware, high-concept ego trip; Simpson has the most reverence for his family, his Aboriginal heritage and his “sleepy country town” Wagga Wagga. And while some of the punchlines deserve more confidence than what he gives them, the set is well structured and motors along.
Let’s also not forget the titular instrument. Simpson treats us to a few guttural goes on what he dubs “Chekhov’s didgeridoo” (it looms over the stage from the start), but it’s his storytelling around it that really sings. Didgeridoozy is a wholesome hour of gentle rib-tickling from a comedian with leagues of success ahead of him.