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Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Don Rodolfo is an autobiographical tale about a fictional swashbuckling lothario who advertises himself as having and being a world-class bellend.

This Spanish sword-swishing persona is the brainchild of Ciarán Dowd. Rodolfo is a womaniser of the early 17th century with a questionable accent that occasionally lapses into thick Irish. In a parody of The Princess Bride, Don Rodolfo is a story of the hero’s revenge against a six-handed man who killed his family. As he embarks on this bloodthirsty adventure there are many larks and skits along the way.

Dowd is aware of how suspicious his accent is as well as how camp the production is. There’s cheesy one-liners and libertine chest-puffery aplenty, but it’s all done with good sport and an acknowledgement of the ludicrous nature of the show.

Don Rodolfo contains a mock-80s training montage as Rodolfo gets ready to duel, which is only missing an ‘Eye of the Tiger’ backing track, as well as travel cut scenes across scorching deserts on a toy hobby horse. The bloodbath in Kill Bill Volume 1 where Uma Thurman defeats the Crazy 88 has nothing on Rodolfo’s massacre of 600 bandits. In his explicit description of the fight, absurd heroic murders scale down to lethargic kebab-skewering moments; at one point he claims to just stand there, limp-wristed, as legions of people commit suicide onto his sword.

Rodolfo is an intractable nymphomaniac and misogynist. He gives questionable flirting tips and picks on audience members to terrorise, conscripting lovers with the bribery of sugar cubes and using men as writing-tables to pen his amorous letters.

There’s an exciting revelation of a planted actor in the audience that speeds Don Rodolfo towards a steel-slicing conclusion. Rodolfo alleges that his blue eyes are as deep as the ocean, so deep that you can drown in them, but they’re more like a shallow lagoon; he may be delusional about his own attractiveness but that’s also his most charming asset.

  • Comedy
  • By Ciarán Dowd
  • Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh Festival Fringe
  • Until 26th August 2018
  • Time: 22:45

About The Author

Reviewer (UK)

Nick is a UCL English graduate. He is interested primarily in Modernism, Absurdist theatre, Confessional poets and Beat Generation writers.

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