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Aindrias de Staic performs Around The World On 80 Quid

What do you get when you cross an Irishman, a backpack and a fiddle? Aindrias de Staic. Here, he proves why a combination of quick wit, gifted storytelling and a fierce musical talent means he’s more than a comedy cliché.

It’s immediately apparent in talking to him why one Herald Sun reviewer called de Staic “amazingly seductive.” Effortless Irish charm? Tick. Crooner voice? Tick. Smooth humour laced with biting banter? Tick, tick. tick.This month, de Staic is back in Melbourne with his revamped autobiographical, one-man new cabaret show, Around The World On 80 Quid. Featuring a cross between contemporary Irish story-telling and variations of world music (from Irish tunes to Gypsy, Italian, Greek and jazz) de Staic also dashes out lashings of comedy.

Loosely based on real events, de Staic re-accounts his misadventures as a travelling fiddler backpacker in his trek across the globe. Undoubtedly, it is a formula that has worked. De Staic has raked up a slew of awards after a successful run on the global fringe circuit. Taking out the gong for Best Solo Show at the New Zealand Fringe Festival in both 2007 and 2008, he was also the winner of 2009’s ThreeWeeks Editors Award at the Edinburgh Fringe and has a track of sold-out shows at Melbourne’s Fringe Festival. Add to that a recent role in London’s West End show, Woody Sez, a role in the Adelaide-produced Tropfest film, A Moment Of Grace that earned him a 2010 Bright Spark award and you have a searing talent.

Impressive, when you consider de Staic blindly stumbled across fame after the juke box at his local chip shop nestled in Western Ireland broke down. “I used to sing along and tell jokes in between, while we waited for it to be repaired. It just worked.”

Storytelling was the X to de Staic’s comedy factor. Soon he had a cult following and a permanent gig at a local pub. “I was always told I had a lot of charisma in performance. My dad was a storyteller and it all began from there. I just started reading from my diary, sharing literature and combining it with music.”

Lucky for de Staic it was the 1990s and Irish music was en vogue, which helped draw in the crowds. Backpacking and adventure followed, which fuelled the jokes and helped catapult de Staic to become a story-telling sensation.

I had a fairly crazy year during my one year backpacking in Australia and that’s why I love performing the show here.” So it’s high time we quit with the Irish jokes, after all, we’re practically one and the same, according to de Staic. “Australians just ‘get’ it,” he explains. “They understand Irish humour and the backpacker experience. Most Australians I’ve meet have done a year of backpacking themselves in Europe and the UK. So they’ve really responded to the show.”

According to de Staic, the backpackers spilling out of our corner pubs are making wry observations about us, just as we are about them. Aussies are “warmer” than the British, he confides and “more intelligent,” than the Americans. Are we just being too hard on the Yankees? “Certainly not,” explains de Staic. “The show is kind of fast, incorporating the spoken word over a beat. With the Americans it can go right over their heads – they’ll get the cheesy puns but they’ll miss the intelligent jokes.”

Not so, for the keen-sensed Melbournians, who de Staic loves. After all, this show is somewhat of a home-coming. “I quit doing drugs and booze while I was here and got my life together. I learnt how to play jazz and Greek music in Fitzroy. I found myself in Melbourne. That’s why this is really a Melbourne show.”

Aindrias de Staic performs Around The World On 80 Quid as part of the Melbourne Intermational Comedy Festival at the Celtic Club from April 15 – 30 at 8pm. Tickets are $15 full, $12 concession and tightarse Tuesday. Book at 9670 6472.