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Eleanor Tiernan: Trouble
Do you like mischief and mayhem? Comedy = tragedy + time. See this engaging Irish comic tell stories and jokes about the times she got away with and the times she didn't.
Eleanor Tiernan: Trouble - Fringe 2009
This is a tricky gig, thatís for sure. Just half a dozen of us sit in the audience, scattered around the room. How do you perform to that?
Eleanor Tiernanís solution is to pretend it isnít happening; she stares into the void as if it were full of people and delivers with the same forced rhythm as she would if she was trying to get the material out through a rowdy pub gig; building up the energy and pace of each routine, then stopping dead with a sudden pause where the laugh ought to be, but very often isnít. It seems quite a strange experience for audience and comedian alike, no one knowing quite how to behave.
There are a couple of gags to kick us off, with her suggestion of how to tell if youíre an alcoholic being particularly inspired, before we ease into her extended anecdotes, where the results are decidedly less assured..
Her recollection of a gig in Dublinís Mountjoy womenís prison, doesnít yield much; while the tale of her buying a wheelchair on eBay starts with a few jokes, but trickles away into a dull, uninsightful story of travelling from Ireland to Brighton in it, about which genuine wheelchair users might rightly ponder what she was trying to prove. Likewise, her trip to see a clearly troubled friend in the States is high on incident, short on laughs. The pattern keeps repeating.
Promising ideas sometimes bristle beneath the surface Ė the Irish needlessly beating themselves up over their supposed Ďdecadenceí during the boom years of the Celtic Tiger, or the way people in new relationships over-sentimentalise every trivial shared moment Ė but never quite hit home.
Tiernan has a warm, engaging way about her, despite that delivery which seems so forced in so small a room, and having seen her in different situations, Iím sure sheís a better comic than this show would suggest. But the hour seems a stretch for her, at least at this stage in her career.
|Date of live review: Friday 21st Aug, '09|
Review by Steve Bennett
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