One of our better-known stand-up comedians and current Fox FM breakfast host (with Fifi Box), Dave Thornton is eminently likeable.
One could say that’s a standard prerequisite for someone who decides to walk up on stage to try to make us laugh, but it’s not an insignificant quality to have when you’re good-looking, young white guy who, at least on the surface, doesn’t seem to have had any difficulties in life to provide source material for a comedy routine.
Despite a misguided search for sympathy regarding the 4.30am starts a career in breakfast radio demands (I’m sure he’s crying into his pay packet each month), Thornton remains a cheeky charmer. The title Spit and Polish implies a life and/or a comedy routine that stills needs a little work, and not the colloquialism for fellatio that a quick survey of the audience by Thornton reveals isn’t common knowledge. But really this funny sequence of reflections on his life is honed easily well enough that it doesn’t need any more buffing.
Ad libbing with the audience also seems to come easily to Thornton and gently ribbing his targets provides added amusement and presumably uniqueness to each performance. However, readers of Theatre People be warned – this production does contain disparaging comments towards musical theatre! (Insert mock horror here.) If you can accept the fact that Thornton feels the stage version of Billy Elliot ruins the point of the original movie on the basis that a homophobic father wouldn’t start singing about his feelings (a fair point, well made), then it’s worth sticking around to hear how his girlfriend’s admiration of The Lion King star Nick Afoa caused some discomfort in their relationship.
With something for almost everyone to enjoy, Dave Thornton’s Spit and Polish is one of the most easily recommendable shows in this year’s festival.