FRINGEWORLD, on now, Review

FRINGEWORLD 2021 | Ayden Doherty: Birthday Party for a Dead Friend | 5 Stars

Review | Laura Money


Ayden Doherty shouts this exuberantly into the microphone three quarters of the way into the show – I don’t know who he’s trying to convince, me or himself but he definitely got me on side. Birthday Party for a Dead Friend celebrates the sheer clusterf*ck of a hot mess Doherty perceives himself to be. Suffering from a string of conditions including post traumatic stress disorder for literally no reason (his words!) Doherty finds the humour in every situation and rather than walking around the eggshells he crushes them to bits under his sexy red snakeskin boots. It’s life affirming comedy, which is a rather ironic statement as you’ll soon see.

This show is as much of an emotional rollercoaster as Doherty’s life – he condenses his recent experiences warts and all, and bares everything in roughly an hour. Doherty is one of those over sharers who you actually want to listen to. He is unafraid to talk openly about mental health, suicide, medication, intervention, and long-necked birds. An anomaly? Not really as Doherty’s approach to everything is a rational and ridiculous lens in one. He gives equal weight to the ridiculous nature of Doctors absolute inability to connect with their patients on a human level, and how all long-necked birds are dangerous, stupid, and annoying. Ok, so more research went into the latter joke but they’re both hilariously sharp observations, delivered with a biting wit.

Doherty’s style is a bit like his personality – all over the place. One minute you’re laughing your head off at bad dates with bird-people (I’m deliberately leaving this out of context as I find it hilarious), the next you’re imagining putting a mould of your penis in your mouth. He also moves from pure comedy to calling out misogyny and intolerance and for that, I will reiterate ‘Ayden Doherty is a FIVE STAR MAN!’ He hasn’t set out to be a champion of the little guy, but has become a trailblazer for the downtrodden – he proves that you can be sensitive to people’s mental health, pronouns, sexuality, expressions, environmental stances and still be blisteringly funny. Doherty is at the top of his sequin-clad, skinny jeaned game.

Birthday Party for a Dead Friend is the perfect insight into a neurodivergent mind. Doherty opens the door wide, and invites you in – knowing full well it may not always be an easy visit to make. I know that you don’t want unsolicited advice, Ayden but please don’t kill yourself. You have a gift and see the world with humour and compassion and that should not be cut short. And fuck, you’re funny as hell!

You can get your tickets to see this beautiful human HERE

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