Maeve Higgins: Slightly Amazing

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

Even with the qualifier, ‘amazing’ is an overstatement for Maeve Higgins, and not one you would ever catch her using herself.

Her persona is one of modesty and low-key charm. Mild whimsy is the order of the day, as she blethers on about her experiences in small-town Ireland. It’s delightful, in its own quiet way; the show relying on the fact she provides good company rather than banging out gags or razor-sharp observations like the polished club comics.

Such lack of showbiz artifice puts her in the same bracket as her cousin in comedy Josie Long – if you like one, you’ll surely like the other. Indeed, this wilfully uncool Cobh girl has a sly dig at the pretence of the traditional stand-up with her own take on that familiar topic: the differences between men and women - only her conclusions are a lot less polarising than the norm.

Indeed, she’s more likely to talk about mundane occurrences such as a broken Hoover rather than making any great pronouncements on life, but that shouldn’t be taken to mean she hasn’t any jokes. She has some fine lines, although sometimes she meanders around the houses to get to them.

Edinburgh audiences had their first taste of Maeve last summer, when she appeared with her cake-baking sister, who was always ready with a friendly non-sequiteur interruption to jolt the show along. This time around Maeve’s on her own, although she appoints an audience member to translate any culture references that don’t travel well. She is better with a straightwoman to bounce off, but can still hold a show together herself.

She has a rather contrived MacGuffin to string her disparate routines together, introducing a series of fictional creatures such as The Etiquette Fairy or The Responsibility Dodo, whose task it is to dole out advice to children. Though her material bears only the most tenuous link to the categories it gets lumped into.

At the end of the show, there are dollar-store prizes for the audience members who helped her out. It could be painfully twee, but Higgins is so genuinely taken with the idea, that the authenticity sees her through. And that’s true of Slightly Amazing as a whole; Higgins is so charmingly, modestly, endearing, it would be churlish not to return the affection.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

Review date: 28 Mar 2007
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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