Jarlath Regan: Relax The Cax

Note: This review is from 2009

Review by Steve Bennett

Review from the 2009 Leicester Comedy Festival:

Soft-spoken Irishman Jarlath Reagan is as warm and comforting as a favourite pair of careworn slippers, and you can’t help but feel happier when enveloped in his gentle observational humour. The flip side of this, however, is that his mildly fanciful shtick is unlikely to thrill you, while you bask in its welcoming glow.

This brief 40-minute show, partway through the transition between last year’s Edinburgh offering and this year’s, certainly has its moments. His one-sided phone conversation with his technophobe Dad, especially, stands out – a nicely evocative piece of writing worthy of similarly mild-mannered funnyman Bob Newhart.

His home-made greetings cards are likely to put a smile on your face, while a routine about delivering bad news is almost as enjoyable, although he extends it unnecessarily by recounting a previous time when he told it and it didn’t go down particularly well… only for this reprise not to go down particularly well, either.

Other observations feel like work in progress – which may well be the case – especially when he acknowledges them as ‘more accurate than funny’, which is a fair assessment.

But even when his set doesn’t really hit home – and there are a number of times when it doesn’t thanks to some unambitious material on such topics at satnavs – you can never really take umbrage at such a warmly personable delivery and good-hearted intent. The amiable, blarney-stoked Irish comic may be a cliché, but sometimes clichés can come true.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Leicester Comedy Festival, February 2009.

Review from 2008 Edinburgh Fringe:

Central Casting couldn't send a more twinkly Irishman than Jarlath Regan. Smiley, tick, friendly, tick, charming, tick, garrulous tick tick tick. His show Relax The Cax (apparently the Irish equivalent of 'Don't get your knickers in a twist') teases and blarneys you along, gently tickling the audience into a sense of relaxed well-being.

Not averse to the notion of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ he’s bold enough to use a sight gag from last year, guaranteed to get a laugh, and refers to the cod-spectacular opening from 12 months ago, too. (He’s clearly an auteur, we should all be familiar with his work…)

He also explains why this year’s spectacular had to be abandoned… but, no, he’s just teasing, and he lets us see the cheesy Seventies credit sequence his video team has constructed.

He’s so blooming nice, with his lovely nursery teacher fiancé, his patience with his technically challenged Dad, his decision to back down from boxing classes, not because he’s a wuss, but because he’s embracing his non confrontational side, and that’s OK. He’s concerned for our wellbeing, he’s self deprecating, he’s the sort of comic you want to take home to meet your mum.

It’s a very endearing hour, and the apparent chattiness is peppered with excellent callbacks. And yet, and yet… Would this work if some cockney geezer was telling you about car clamping, gumshields and what have you? Probably not, but that’s half the benefit of the Irish accent, it seems to bestow an unshakeable ability to make an ordinary anecdote into a winning story.

A perfect teatime show: you’ll not be harrowed, you’ll be relaxed and delighted and you can find rougher stimulants elsewhere.

Reviewed by: Julia Chamberlain

Review date: 1 Jan 2009
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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