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The Dan Daw Show review: A miraculous piece of theatre

Dublin Fringe Festival 2023: The ‘crip kink’ billing promises the transgressive. The performance is much more

The Dan Daw Show

Space Upstairs, Project Arts Centre

Dan Daw’s thrilling show arrives with a gallimaufry of warnings: kink experience, choking, dominant behaviour and sexy disabled people. These notes feature in the programme, yet when Dan Daw lists them out his brilliant comic timing elicits a laugh.

Early introductory notes stress that anyone is free to leave at their leisure. Nobody does.

The “crip kink” billing promises the transgressive; the performance is much more, a blurring of physical vulnerability and submission, choreography and theatre, BDSM and performance. It woos as it challenges.

Dan Daw grew up with cerebral palsy, a diagnosis that defines his defiant artistry but not him. “This is how I want you to see me,” he says as he becomes a human footstool or crawls into a latex vacuum cube, always bending to the will of KrisX, played by the nondisabled dancer Christopher Owen.


Consensualism is consistently emphasised and articulated.

A profound sense of voyeurism creeps in as we watch a cleverly structured piece of theatre that feels as if we are intruding on a wild, sensorial first date. An exhilarating soundtrack approximates the best rave of your life.

When it’s funny it’s hilarious. “I want to be surprised but in control at the same time – I’m such a messy bitch” gets a huge guffaw. When it’s sexy it’s derring-do.

Dan’s knife-edge onstage ecstasy mirrors the audience’s heart-thumping, precipitous response. What is this? What’s coming next? These dramatic quandaries are variously solved with a vacuum cleaner. Who knew? What a miraculous piece of theatre.

Continues at Project Arts Centre, as part of Dublin Fringe Festival, until Saturday, September 23rd

Tara Brady

Tara Brady

Tara Brady, a contributor to The Irish Times, is a writer and film critic