Are You Dave Gorman? - Stageshow press reviews

The Guardian, The Daily Express, The Independent on Sunday, The Sunday Herald, The Scotsman, The Times, The Time Out, Three Weeks, The Financial Times, The Independent, The Sunday Times, Scotland on Sunday, Edinburgh Evening News, The Stage, Metro, The Telegraph, The Observer, The Herald, Chortle, Edinburgh Guide.

The Guardian

Just like his previous shows, Reasons to be Cheerful and Better World, Dave Gorman's latest vehicle is a brilliant example of what can happen when you take an idea and run with it. The idea is this:

Gorman set out to find, meet and photograph himself meeting other Dave Gormans. A simple enough notion, maybe, but it inspired one of the funniest shows in years - an hour-long rollercoaster of comedy.

Gorman first goes to Scotland, where he meets the assistant manager of East Fife Football Club, Dave Gorman; then he goes right round the world. There's even a Dave Gorman in this audience. We share Gorman's excitement as he locates his first gay namesake, and his heartbreak as he is cruelly refused a meeting with Dave Gorman of Leamington Spa. By the end of the show he is offering £300 to anyone who will change their name by deed poll, and a desperate, entire grand to the person who will christen their child Dave Gorman.

The tale is fascinating and Gorman's immaculate timing and deadpan delivery mean there is scarcely a second's break in the hilarity. - 5 Stars

by Dave Simpson

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The Daily Express

For this years show - Are You Dave Gorman? - the quirky midlander tried to track down as many namesakes as possible. He even travelled as far as New York and Norway and he has the boading cards to prove it. He reproduces them in a slide show, which also reveals pictures of every Gorman he met, starting with the Assistant Manager of East Fife. On paper this might sound more like a lecture but Gorman is a consummate comic.

Gradually a picture builds up of a world of curious coincidence. Maybe it isn't Gorman that is mad for pursuing what began as a drunken jape to its logical conclusion, but the rest of the world for putting such significance in something as trivial as a name. The result is a hilarious rollercoaster. The nearest comparison is probably artist Tracey Emin, who puts her life into her work too. It certainly deserves a Perrier and probably the Turner Prize, too. - 5 Stars

by Bruce Dessau

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Independent on Sunday

See enough stand-up comedy and you'll wonder why people who make their living from observation never observe anything beyond daytime TV and all-night garages. Then see Dave Gorman. Leaving the bedsit milieu of the average stand-up far behind, the BAFTA winning 29 year old specialises in his own brand of investigative comedy : two years ago he was deconstructing the lyrics of Ian Dury's "Reasons To Be Cheerful"; last year he was trying to make the world a better place. This year he has hit on his most elegantly pointless project yet : meeting as many people as possible with the same name as his.

So far his mission has taken him from Eastbourne to Norway, from Glenrothes to New York, and his show is the story of his travels, illustrated with maps, photos and a "miles per Dave Gorman" graph. It's the contrast between the audacious, insane obsession of his quest and the logical, matter-of-fact precision with which he describes it which makes the hour so fascinating and hilarious. What starts out as a drunken bet grows into an existential odyssey and a life affirming, heart warming chapter in the history of English eccentricity. It's utterly unique.

by Nicholas Barber

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Sunday Herald

Why should a slideshow account of a comedian's attempts to contact his namesakes be funny? I don't know, but it is. It's the biggest laugh on the Fringe. Dave Gorman has a unique brand of documentary humour which relies on the complete absence of jokes and one-liners. Harry Hill he isn't.

Cliches such as wacky, zany and madcap don't quite fit either. It is eccentric anorak humour of a very British kind. Gorman invites us to observe the mundane curious worlds inhabited by people who happen to share his name - such as the insurance salesman from Swindon who returns home every lunchtime to play Scrabble with his wife and has recorded the results of every game for 20 years.

But Gorman isn't cruel. He doesn't ridicule these people. And he's not above providing meaningless statistics of his own, such as the distance travelled in his search, tabulated in miles per Dave Gorman (MPDG). He hasn't finished clocking up the miles either. This performance, it emerges, is part of his field work. He challenges the audience to declare their knowledge of the whereabouts of further Dave Gormans, and even gets us to swear that we will notify him of any Dave Gormans we should encounter.

This show is achingly funny. Even though it isn't quite up to the glorious and uplifting show of last year, Dave Gorman's Better World, it is more than just work in progress. Humane humour at its best and not a willy in sight. - 4 Stars

by Iain Macwhirter

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Sunday Herald Again

This set me thinking about whether you could have a comedy without jokes. Maybe gags themselves are the source of the problem, bring out the worst in us. So I went in search of the ultimate in non comic comedy and I found it in Dave Gorman's: Are You Dave Gorman? (The Pleasance), where a young guy with bushy sideboards delivers an hour long slide show presentation of how he tried to meet people who are also called Dave Gorman. Sounds the ultimate in anorak humour. He shows us the e-mails he sent out asking for Dave Gormans to get in touch with him, the train tickets he bought going to see them, snaps of the eponymous DG meeting his namesakes. He even shows the letter his manager sent to The Pleasance explaining to the Fringe organisers that he didn't know what the show was about.

It sounds about as funny as your neighbours holiday snaps. But it's the funniest thing on the Fringe and is packed out night after night. Audience reduced to tears.

I asked Gorman why people find it funny. He said: "It's because there's no jokes in it. I used to do the usual stand-up gag lines, but when I started doing the documentaries I found they got more laughs the fewer jokes there were. Real life is always funnier than comedy."

So that's the answer then. Ban all jokes now.

by Iain Macwhirter

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The Scotsman

Dave Gorman needs help. No, really. He needs help to find himself - or rather versions of himself. A psychiatrist might do the trick. But seriously, he is on another of his quests, and unlike last year's crusade to find a better world, this time he's not giving up. The mutton-chop-sporting comedian is searching for other Dave Gormans, and the fact that he has formed his Fringe show around the idea doesn't mean that he has stopped looking.

That's where the plea for help comes in. Gorman wants all his namesakes to contact him (dave.gorman@virgin.net) and he is even willing to pay people to change their name by deed poll to Dave Gorman. I kid you not.

It all started last year when a helpful audience member contacted him to say that the East Fife FC manager was also known as Dave Gorman. Pretty soon - for reasons that were hard to explain at the time - he found himself drunk in the early hours of the morning, boarding a train headed fro Glenrothes.

Then he began dragging his willing flatmate, Danny Wallace, all round the country to meet and photograph a motley collection of namesakes. They even ended up in New York, the south of France, Venice and Oslo.

This apparently flimsy premise turns out to make fantastic comedy. Gorman revels in the absurdity of phoning complete strangers, receiving messages from people with the same name and hopping on planes at a moments notice. Told with overhead projector and slides, this is a compelling romp that effortlessly keeps the audience in it's grip - 4 Stars

by Jane-Ann Purdy

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The Times

Hitting hard on the huge laughs stakes this year is Dave Gorman who is (one hopes) concluding his comedy trilogy with an attempt to find 100 people who share his name. Previous years have seen him make light hearted, if dedicated appeals to find reasons to be cheerful and ways to make a better world. This time, his task seems more personal than one would care to contemplate. In Are You Dave Gorman? (Pleasance), his quest for Dave Gormans has involved him shelling out for stacks of "phone directories, sophisticated video equipment and flights to France, Italy, Denmark and New York".
And he has still found only 30-odd namesakes.

Most worrying is not simply the likelihood that this task could take over his life, but the meticulous, mathematical manner in which he is conducting it. In particular it is his determination that the distribution should fall at roughly one every 300 to 500 miles travelled. Thus, for every Dave Gorman found in New York, he must find three in Surrey to even up his calculations.

This show may be the only opportunity that you get to laugh hysterically at graphs and statistics. Go and pity the man, and if your name is actually Dave Gorman, for goodness sake get in touch and make an obsessive comedian very happy.

by Hettie Judah

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Time Out

Meanwhile, only a few hundred yards away at the Pleasance, Dave Gorman caps his Edinburgh triumphs of recent years with a supreme example of the comic lecture in "Are You Dave Gorman?". It's the funniest and most absorbing show I've seen this year.

Gorman's achievement here has been to take a frankly daft personal decision and convert it into a quest that's simultaneously ridiculous and enthralling . The result is a real-life detective story littered with absurdist details. Briefly put, Gorman scours this country and others in search for other people with the same name as him. He describes his methods with teh aid of maps and graphs. Meticulously recorded evidence is provided of the pursuit and final encounter with each quarry. Gorman's odyssey eventually assumes Homeric proportions. Every minute of the show yields some precious nugget. It's sheer delight from start to finish.

by Malcolm Hay

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Three Weeks

Gorman prowls between slide projectors, pointer in hand, like a geography teacher possessed. This isn't so much a show as a lesson in the outer limits of pedantry - but if school had been like this we'd all have done our homework. In his quest to meet other Dave Gormans, our host travelled as far afield as Norway, Wolverhampton and Glenrothes, encountered bizarre scrabble obsessives, almost found Bill Clinton's house and spent far too much time drawing graphs. His dedication is impressive, and ever so slightly disturbing, but the rallying cry that ends the evening has a decidedly infectious fervour- 4 Stars

by James Smart

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Financial Times

Two years ago, Dave Gorman spent his entire show explaining the lyrics to Ian Dury's "Reasons To Be Cheerful". Last year, he put small ads in dozens of local papers inviting ideas to make the world a better place, and tried to realise several of the suggestions he received. This year, he has travelled Britain, Europe and as far afield as New York, to simply to meet, and record his meetings with, other Dave Gormans. The result, as Fringe comedy continues to veer away from straight stand-up into narrative and thematic areas, is a hoot. Gorman is both affable and acute, and much of his comedy arises from treating the premise and events with almost obsessive detail; as well as pictures of Dave with his namesakes and recordings of them, he documents his travels with maps, slides of his areoplane boarding cards "in case you don't believe me", and graphs, which plot his attempts to stay within what he considers a respectable average of "m.p.d.g." - miles per Dave Gorman. He offers money to anyone who will change their name to Dave Gorman, or name their child after him. This is not a prank; it's a quite different kind of practical joke on a grand and glorious scale . And Dave Gorman from Royal Leamington Spa, who wouldn't agree to meet, is a marked man.

by Ian Shuttleworth

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The Independent

No put-downs, no punch lines, no smutty stories, no bitching, no self-congratulation. If only more comedy were like this. Dave Gorman's show is founded on a brilliantly simple idea that surfaced - as the best ideas do - during a drunken conversation down the pub. After his flatmate Danny questioned the existence of another Dave Gorman, a football manager in East Fife, the pair found themselves on the train to Scotland to see who was right. As it turned out, Dave was.

Thus began an adventure that has seen Dave and Danny leafing through phone directories, surfing the Web and travelling 13,000 miles in the quest for other Dave Gormans. There is no destination deemed too far - New York, Norway, Leamington Spa - to meet another Dave Gorman. Proof of their trips comes in the form of maps, aeroplane boarding passes, newspaper clippings, tape recordings and photographs of Dave Gormans across the globe.

This may sound like an absurd premise for a show, but it's impossible not to get carried away with his ardour. Are You Dave Gorman? is a magnificent tale of obsession and adventure. And it's not over yet. At the end, Gorman pleads for help in continuing his quest: "Is there anyone here who is pregnant?" he asks. "Is there anyone here who would like to be pregnant?" A man's gotta do what a man's gotta do.

Fiona Sturges

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Sunday Times Culture Magazine

Gorman's show is far more interesting. For the past six months, he's been trying to meet every Dave Gorman on the planet and has taken a video camera, tape recorder and Polaroid with him. He's been caught in a near-fatal thunderstorm with Dave Gormans, gatecrashed show-biz parties with them and even wound up drunk trying to get some sort of sense out of the assistant manager of a Scottish football club.

After his One Better World show last year, where he travelled the land looking for people with ideas about how to make the world a better place, Gorman is becoming the Bill Bryson of stand-up: charming, whimsical, adventurous and laced with belly laughs.

by Stephen Armstrong

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Scotland On Sunday

Dave Gorman is also on to something. After Tony Hawks dragged a fridge around Ireland in the name of comedy there has been a tendency for stand-ups to go out in the world in search of comic situations, rather than simply do Star Wars material. Gorman's show is based on a six month search for other people named Dave Gorman, which thus far has taken him from Norway to New York via Glenrothes. It turns out the assistant manager of East Fife Football Club is called Dave Gorman, which is where the whole thing started. Now the thing has the air of a vocation.

Gorman was a reasonably accomplished comic who grew enormous sideburns so he could do Planet Of The Apes impressions. Amusing, but not exactly ground breaking. This show catapults him into the A-list, and his was the most talked about show of the first week. Using slides of himself shaking hands with a variety of Dave Gormans, projected maps of his journey and an immensely likeable manner, he creates a hugely entertaining comic travelogue. Gorman has become the Bill Bryson of standup. You could get all deep and argue that his show is making us consider the implications of living in a global village where we can connect as easily with our Oslo namesake as a neighbour, but it's probably best not to. - 5 Stars

by Eddie Gibb

Edinburgh Evening News

You have to admire Dave Gorman. He's done a terrific job as assistant manager of East Fife Football Club. He's also a successful New York stockbroker, Scottish bank manager and a British-based killjoy.

Of course, we're not talking about just one man here. The world, it seems, is littered with Dave Gormans - and one of them has embarked on a personal quest to find all the rest.

For the third successive year, Dave Gorman, the writer-comedian, has succeeded in turning a totally original concept into a fantastic show that's part comedy, part documentary, part lecture and wholly entertaining.

You won't find anyone else on the Fringe performing this style of comedy. Not because they have any better ideas, but because it's hard to imagine other comics being as committed or obsessed to make a show like this work.

Gorman has travelled the world in search of his namesakes, from glamorous Glenrothes to natty New York. As ever, he has the documentary evidence to support his tale, all gloriously presented on his beloved overheadprojector.

And if all thsi sounds anally retentive, just wait until you see his graphs depicting the amount of miles he has travelled for each Dave that he finds.

But herein lies the problem. We rarely find out what any of the people he meets are actually like.

With the human element missing, they are often reduced to mere statistics.

Ultimately, the success of his quest is measured in how far he has travelled and how many Daves he has found. The effort, research, expense and dedication involved is truly impressive, but it's Gorman's presentation which rescues the show.

If there is any one flaw in the concept, it is the fact that it is such a personal mission. Why should audiences care how many other Daves he meets? Yet Gorman skilfully manages to convey his excitement to everyone else in the venue, so they too are cheering every time he meets with success.

It's hard not to feel involved in Gorman's new quest and, if he gets his way during the finale, it might just be absolutely impossible. - 5 Stars

by Jason Hall

The Stage

It all started - as these things often do - in a pub. There he was, finishing off a pint, waiting for his cab to arrive, when someone at the bar shouted: "Taxi for Dave Gorman", and two people stood up.

What began as a coincidence developed into a hobby and descended into something far more fanatical that has ended up as a show on the Fringe. Gorman is the man on the stage and more than a dozen other Dave Gormans he has tracked down, photographed and taped, form the subject matter.

It is essentially a retelling of the bizarre series of events that has taken our comedian to New York, the south of France and Norway in pursuit of his namesakes. But it is more than a wacky conciet pushed to it's limit.

He constructs an engaging travelogue that also becomes a tongue in cheek contemplation on identity and obsession, something he continually debunks by adopting a kind of nutty professor persona, relating to his success as a graphic representation of "Gorman-ness" otherwise called the mpdg ratio - miles per Dave Gorman that is.

True a fair amount of the show's humour comes from the characters themselves, but the fact that Gorman the comic is slowly becoming a character in all of this is perhaps the funniest thing about this delightful investigation.

by Andrew Aldridge

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What's in a name? That's the question plaguing Dave Gorman beyond the point of obsession ever since his flatmate let it slip that the assistant manager of East Fife was also called Dave Gorman.

It's the sort of down-the-pub-after-a-few-jars throwaway remark that would normally linger as long as the head on your pint. But not if you're the Dave Gorman who likes nothing better than spinning Swiftian shaggy dog stories with blokeish bonhomie.

The notion of setting out on a doppelganger manhunt aimed at getting in touch with as many Dave Gormans as possible was too much for him to resist.

Call it a crusade. Call it crazy. Call it the perfect vehicle for a TV series. But the results - shown here in all their slideshow and tape recorded glory - make for top drawer comedy.

You want Dave Gormans who work in frozen fish factories? No problem. Ditto Gay Gormans and the fictional Dave Gorman (actor Larry Pine) who turns up in the movie, Ice Storm. He is never referred to by his Christian name or surname, begging the question: Why was he listed in the credits as Dave Gorman in the first place? In fact comedian Dave Gorman has chalked up 24 namesakes so far, covering 14,522 miles in the processs in trips from Glenrothes to Venice. This, according to the stats, works out at one Dave Gorman every 605 miles.

A Don Quixote on e-mail, Gorman's aim is to tilt at the windmills of his namesakes' minds in order to learn some universal truths about humanity. Or, at the very least, get a hold of some blokes with dodgy moustaches and funny haircuts. One Dave Gorman turned out to have kept a log of his Scrabble scores for the past ten years, which puts our own Dave Gorman's obsession somewhat in the shade.

So, if your name's Dave Gorman or you're willing to change your name by deed poll to Dave Gorman for £100 there's a bloke at The Pleasance wants to hear from you. Now, what was his name again? - 4 Stars

by Alan Chadwick

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The Telegraph

A close second for most entertaining hour so far is Are You Dave Gorman? in which the double Bafta winning writer of The Mrs Merton Show attempts to track down 100 people who share his name. He turns what has the potential to be a lethally dull project into a whimsical tour de force , as he recounts the highs and lows of his search.

He intersperses his wry observations with inspired use of an overhead projector, giving updates on key statistics such as the miles-per-Dave-Gorman count. The first five Dave Gormans yielded an impressive 378 mpdg average, but trips to far-flung destinations (yes, there's a Dave Gorman in Norway) bumped the figures up.

The sheer originality of all this makes it a delight, and Perrier should definitely be fizzing around Gorman too.

by Fiona Mountford

The Observer

... or maybe he should go and see Dave Gorman , who may lack other's gifts, but whose Edinburgh shows have the feel of a lifelong, personal mission rather than a rushed piece of homework.

Where another's show is mushy and digressive, Gorman's has the hyperintense focus of true obsession. It is, basically, about how he sought out and met 25 other Dave Gormans around the world, recording their locations on a map and calculating a ratio of 'miles per dave gorman (mpdg)' on a graph. To his immense credit he makes this process seem exciting and suspenseful, as well as funny.

His quest, by the way, is ongoing. If your name is Dave Gorman, or if you know someone called Dave Gorman, or if you would - for a reward of £250 (or £300 if you're female) - like to change your name forever to Dave Gorman, then contact him at dave.gorman@virgin.net . Or better still, go to the show and reveal yourself. Dave Gorman #1 will be thrilled.

by Sam Taylor

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The Herald

He enjoys pursuing a good senseless quest with great rigour does Dave Gorman. During Fringe 1998 he dissected Ian Dury's Reasons To Be Cheerful line by line. Last year he attempted to elicit Everyman's secrets of global improvement by placing a series of personal ads in regional British newspapers.

And now he's trying to find the Dave Gormans of the world. By phone. By e-mail. By chance. He's found 24 Dave Gormans so far, visiting Oslo, Manhattan, Methil, Ladybank, Glenrothes, Marseilles, Venice and other unlikely places in the process, covering 14,522 miles at a creditable rate of 605 miles per Dave Gorman. Do you know some Dave Gormans? Dave Gorman needs your help. One of the more famous Dave Gormans is the assistant manager of East Fife FC, incidentally. Rigorous Fringe quester Dave Gorman has found him already. He was his first Dave Gorman in fact.

Why is Dave Gorman seeking Dave Gormans? Initially, because too much drink made it seem a daftly fantastic idea. Then Dave developed the notion that he could somehow record humanity's frailty, glory and sheer diversity by collating humanity's Dave Gormans. If you're not a Dave Gorman, why should you go and see Dave Gorman? Because Dave Gorman is dead funny in a conversationally matey way, and he's got some extraordinarily ordinary slides - and sound recordings! - of regular Dave Gormans in all their irregularity. Dave Gormans: you need more of them in your life.

by David Belcher

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This is, quite simply, a stunning show.

In a drunken moment, comedian Dave Gorman decided that he should meet his namesake, the assistant manager of East Fife football club.

From there, the idea snowballed and now he's on a quest to find as many Dave Gormans across the globe as he can.

As a sad obsession, this has something going for it. As the premise of a full-length Edinburgh show, the idea seems somewhat less sound.

So it's a tribute to Dave's skill that the sell-out audience become so emotionally involved in what should, by rights, be a bit of pathetic personal trainspotting.

Why anyone should care how far he has to travel to meet each fellow Dave Gorman is a mystery. Yet everyone cheers and boos the pointless statistics and wishes they, too, could help in this important mission .

There couldn't have been one person in the room who didn't take the sworn pledge to join the search with the heartfelt sincerity it deserved.

How did we become so involved? Magic.

Gorman casts a spell over the audience with his charm, wit and contagious enthusiasm for the project.

But above all, this is a very funny routine with laughs coming thick and fast, and from unexpected directions.

A perfect show from a consummate stand-up. Unmissable.

by Steve Bennet

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Edinburgh Guide Website

Dave Gorman takes us on an adrenalin-charged, rabid pursuit of his own personal Holy Grail - other people called Dave Gorman. His quest takes him (and his double-crossing flatmate) to far-flung places such as Venice, New York, Sweden and, erm, Glenrothes. His task is to find others nominally identical to himself within the ideal range of 300 to 500 mpdg (Miles Per Dave Gorman). Getting caught in a tornado in the USA whilst looking for the president's house, flying to France to meet a Canadian only to find that he is in London, 15 miles from Gorman's home and other such meetings and nonevents keep you rooting for him like the underdog in some obsessive sporting event.

Like the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures on speed, Gorman supports his story with slides, overhead projections and audio recordings of his namesakes, his boarding passes and other evidence to great comic effect. His show is thoroughly engrossing throughout and I was only disappointed when the tale came to the present day and we had no more Dave Gormans.

So, if you are also called Dave Gorman, or know someone who is, please get in touch with this one at dave.gorman@ virgin.net (Note - this address no longer works) and allow this superb comic adventure to continue.

by Ray Anderson

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