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Patrick Monahan: Cowboys & Iranians - Fringe 2009

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Nione Meakin

EVERYONE knows someone who's a bit like Patrick Monahan. He's the guy at the wedding who flirts with the bridesmaids, tops up the aunties' glasses and breakdances to amuse the kids - a bit of a sweetheart. And that's what his comedy is like; something for everyone, all delivered with cheeky grin.

In his fifth Edinburgh stand-up outing, Monahan sets out to examine the trifling issue of the differences between people, both personal and cultural (though not political). As an Irish-Iranian teetotaller, he is used to standing out in a crowd for one reason or another, and given that he also devotes a significant proportion of his shows to getting to know his audiences, this is well-chosen topic. Astoundingly, the garrulous Teessider even manages to stick to it, for the most part.

In this refreshingly personal show, Monahan uses a quiz from a women's magazine as the springboard for an hour of fast-paced, chatty, observational comedy that seems to come more from the heart than just his usual compulsion to entertain.

He offers some lovely sketches of his childhood, such as his Iranian grandmother's unique take on the idea of democracy, and of his later years, when he would take cakes to warehouse parties instead of Es. Teenagers come under his radar, in predictable but effective fashion, as he parodies the odd choreography of fights. His simple comparison between the American and British techniques is hilarious.

The theme of differences also gives him further excuse to hug, touch and interrogate his audience as he invites two boys to take a quiz to find out how well they know each other and asks couples to shout out the secrets to their marriages, with unexpectedly brilliant results. Ever keen to please, Monahan even throws in a bit of elaborate on-stage dancing with said boys, as the audience revels in the physical comedy of two gawky and unprepared teenagers trying to spin on their heads.

In previous, less solid shows, Monahan's old-fashioned, everyman persona seemed a hindrance to him piquing much interest. When paired with some good writing and strong anecdotes, he makes the case more convincingly.

Review date: 15 Aug 2009
Reviewed by: Nione Meakin

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