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Maeve Higgins: Personal Best

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Jay Richardson

From the half-hearted Dizzee Rascal impression she employs as her introduction, to her indiscreet comments on fellow comics and critics, this truly felt like a tired, end of festival show from the otherwise reliably charming Maeve Higgins.

Fearing her ‘exotic’ Irish accent may confuse some in the crowd, she sets up a little test, relating the video for Alicia Keys’ Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart, deconstructing the daft narrative scene by scene, then posing questions at the end. Uninspiring as this might sound, in execution the Irish comic makes it work. Her girlishly conversational style, punctuated by hesitating pauses and sudden bursts of inspired gabbling proving an endearingly silly counterpoint to Keys’ po-facedness.

Cynically funny on the Irish who’ve convinced themselves they’re of Spanish ancestry, Higgins outlines her problems with the Weight Watchers regime and an ostensibly disastrous date she went on in New York, before revealing a perhaps unexpected insecurity at social gatherings.

Whenever she sighs and seems to look disinterested, she’ll suddenly cotton on and throw on a stupid voice or heave a brilliant turn of phrase out of nowhere, pulling you and her back into her daydreamy world. Her collusion with her father around her supposed adolescent beauty is touching, even if she’s excessively harsh on them both in retrospect, the flashes of irritation she displays with other comedians having the virtue of keeping things lively.

There are some fine moments in this patchy show. But if Higgins is serious when she bemoans her UK career and confesses her desire for another TV vehicle, then she’ll undoubtedly need to cultivate a more mainstream delivery, if she’s indeed capable of such a thing. And that would almost certainly rob her of some of her unique appeal.

Review date: 29 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Jay Richardson

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