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If there is one thing I love more than comedy, it’s theatre. If there’s one thing I love more than theatre, it’s the middle minute or so of Radiohead’s ‘Let Down’. If there’s one thing I love more than the middle minute or so of Radiohead’s ‘Let Down’, it’s Doctor Who. This means four things.
First, it means that I can spell Raxacoricofallapatorious.
Second, it means that I am somewhat qualified, I feel, to review Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf—a comedy theatre piece about Doctor Who.
Third, it means that my life tends to oscillate between bitter self-aware middle-class angst and overwrought low-budget time travel-based escapism. You should have seen the time I arm wrestled a giant armadillo in Victorian era London while gently weeping and humming ‘Paranoid Android’. It was awesome.
Fourth, it means that there was a distinct possiblity that if Doctor Who Scarf contained Thom Yorke intoning that you-know-you-know-where-you-are-with-you-know-where-you-are-with (floor collapsing, floating) I would have probably rather ruined BATS’ lush plush décor by exploding. Arguably luckily, I didn’t. But enough about me. For now.
This being a comedy festival show aimed at a largely non-Whovian audience, there are two questions to be very dirctedly asked.
Question One—Is it funny?
Answer One—Yes. An infinity of yes. Hadoke is an eternally watchable stage presence, spitting wit freely into your ears as he manically paces the stage retelling his life story through the very distinct lens of the longest running science-fiction television series ever. He has a unique talent for both ranting and metaphor, always managing to squeeze the most perfect and vitrolic description of even the most mundane event. On opening night, however, he did develop a tendancy to rush somewhat, not letting the copious laughs build or settle. This will no doubt ease with his obvious jet lag.
Question Two—Do you need to know Who to get it?
Answer Two—Of course not. This is largely because at the end of the hour, Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf isn’t about Doctor Who. It’s about his long-term attempt at finding a place in this world. First, as a smart guy in an increasingly dumb world that keeps insisting it loves him but only as a friend. Second, as a father to his sons when he had no father figure himself, apart from a 900-odd-year-old alien. His acidic humour and gleeful rage at the ignorance of the world around him balances the slight mawkishness of the fatherhood material, like an odd set of scales with John Pilger on a bad day at one end, a teddy bear made of love, cake and clouds at the other and a thirteen-foot-long scarf in the middle.
Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf is wonderfully crafted and fitfully funny show in which anyone can find something to have a chuckle at. Highly recommended.
Written and performed by Toby Hadoke
At BATS, 12–16 May 2009 6.30pm
Part of the New Zealand International Comedy Festival 2009
Uther’s Top Five Psuedo-Canon Doctor Who Spin-Offs
1. Human Nature by Paul Cornell (Virgin Books)
2. Jubilee by Robert Shearman (Big Finish Prod.)
3. Warlock by Andrew Cartmel (Virgin Books)
4. Father Time by Lance Parkin (BBC Books)
5. Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf by Toby Hadoke