From Norlane traffic lights to festivals across Europe, Daniel Oldaker lives to entertain. He shares his career and colourful characters with Luke Voogt.
Tell us about you…
I’m a physical comedian and producer – aka Dandyman – from Norlane and I perform with my partner Rani Huszar. I love to catch leaves in autumn, play music, golf and fun ball – which is a little bouncy ball but in a soccer-type form, rollerblade and paint. I grew up in Ballarat and lived in Melbourne for some time. I bought a house in Geelong as it’s close to Melbourne and the ocean, and has an amazing waterfront.
How did you get involved in performing?
My grandfather was an amazing man who showed me magic tricks when I was young, which sparked my interest in performing. Creating wonder for others inspired me to perform magic for family and friends. Then, just like a rabbit in a hat, my interest in magic disappeared. Years later, I taught myself to juggle and started doing shows for parties and street theatre in the Ballarat mall. A local circus meetup helped me develop my skills and I outgrew the pond, moving to the big smoke for fame and fortune. Developing shows for corporate events, private functions and street theatre set me up financially, so I went to New Zealand and completed a circus diploma. I spent years touring Europe, the Americas and Asia with my one-man and duo physical comedy shows. I have had some very crazy and fun shows at many festivals – mainly in France, Italy and Spain where they really appreciate physical comedy. I won the Busan International Comedy Festival’s Best International Act and played at Sydney Opera House.
Who is Dandyman?
He’s one of the characters I play, inspired by physical comedians like Jacques Tati, Buster Keaton, Jim Carey and Rowan Atkinson. I created him for a show at the Adelaide Fringe Festival. He’s naive, charming and loveable with an absurd comedic edge.
How are you coping with COVID-19?
Our company pivoted fast during COVID. We created a very successful online variety show through Zoom and hired over 60 other artists from around the world. We were also involved in shows for councils and Melbourne Arts Centre. We are excited to be back out doing live shows and have been recently hired by Geelong council to activate the city with our ridiculously funny characters Nosey Parker and Sticky Beak.
I have also performed as a chef character at the traffic lights near our house that received an overwhelming response. I am currently involved with the Wonderland Spiegeltent at Barwon Heads over the holiday period.
What do you like to do locally?
I enjoy eating at The Geelong Boat House for its authentic sea view charm and Little Malop Street west for its easy-going car-free bars and restaurants. I love rollerblading, skateboarding and performing live on the waterfront. I also like to take friends for a riverside boulder dash at Buckley Falls, ride from Norlane to the city on the Bay Trail and kayak on Corio Bay.
What’s something about you people might not know?
I joggle, which is jogging and juggling combined. Quite often you’ll see me doing it in Norlane.