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Colm O'Regan: Dislike! at the 2011 Cat Laughs Comedy Festival

Note: This review is from 2011

Review by Steve Bennett

It’s historically been unusual for Cat Laughs to feature solo shows at all, let alone one that’s clearly still in progress as this one is. After 70 or so minutes of a 60-minute show (!) Colm O’Regan, good-naturedly gives those of us with other appointments a get-out while he prepares a few other bits and pieces he wants to show us…

But the bulk of the Edinburgh-bound show is already in order. In it he envisages Ireland’s history from ice-age times to the recent boom-and-bust as a series of Facebook updates and exchanges. Though don’t worry, he fast-forwards through several millennia when things gets boring. It’s basically: mammoths, druids, Catholics, uprisings (various), Celtic tiger, recession…Facebook and comedy don’t always sit well together – a limp reference to the outdated ‘poke’ is as much as most people manage in an attempt to ride the zeitgeist. But although this is a contrived set-up, O’Regan has made a decent fist of it, with various Popes, political figures and the like being given made into comic characters by their anachronistic profiles and posts. The joke does eventually wear thin, but O’Regan strings it along for much longer than you might expect, thanks to a hefty portion of upbeat charm.

An amicable host, he also strikes some topical notes in his preamble, with cracks about the visits of Obama and the Queen, while the modesty of hurling champions is a guaranteed crowd-pleaser in Kilkenny, and he makes it into a nice analogy. It’s not the most tightly-honed of startlingly original of shows, but his likeable, attitude, deprecating of both himself and his nation, carries things along between gags. And there are a smattering of moments of genuine hilarity.

On a technical note, he would probably be advised to limit the PowerPoint only to those points he needs it: the projector means he delivers big chunks of material in near darkness with an aerial picture of Cork or some such irrelevance projected on to his face. Not perfect.

But at the risk of damning with faint praise, this is a decent, nice show; as affable a way to spend an hour – or possibly longer – as grazing through your own Facebook network. Like.

Review date: 7 Jun 2011
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Kilkenny Cleeres

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