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Roisin Conaty: Destiny's Dickhead

Note: This review is from 2011

Review by Marissa Burgess

There's a point in Conaty's show following a cul-de-sac bit of banter where she quips ‘I’ll leave it there and today will be forever known as black Monday.’ Though she’s joking there's an underlying feeling that for Conaty it’s one of ‘those’ gigs.

There's at least one in every Fringe run, where things just don't quite go as you'd want them to. It is a quiet gig but Conaty appears a touch nervy, not entirely her personable self. It threatens to derail her opening 20 minutes, almost as if she seems to have a lack of conviction in it. Whenever she’s uncertain of the reaction, Conaty turns to audience banter seeming to feel the need to warm us up – but instead it only serves to break any flow she might have built up.

Which is a shame because when she does eventually hit her stride part way through the show she displays the kind of comedic skill that won her the Best Newcomer award last year. There really was nothing to be worried about.

The loose-ish premise of the show is that Conaty is trying to shed her superstitious nature, the Destiny's Dickhead of the title, and take control of her life – using the self-improvement premise that’s common for comedians who want to shoehorn some straight stand up into an hour show.

Conaty successfully moves out of her Nan's place into her own flat at the age of 32, but she's made less progress in giving up smoking and finding a partner. Some of the material, including her Nan's problem with passport photos, Conaty's lack of a sense of direction and sections of the hen weekend material are received warmly but with not with belly laughs. However when her skills kick in proper with a routine about an overcrowded yoga class, the pace picks up.

She then moves off into lovely set pieces about chatting to a Japanese man with shaky English on a rollercoaster, and a misunderstanding with her mother over the hardcore porn film Conaty and her friend accidentally viewed as karate-loving 12-year-olds.

When she focuses she can employ a fantastic turn of phrase conjuring vivid images and evocative characterizations, such as her mum mumbling happily when she finds a bag of Conaty's washing to sort through. But she doesn’t always focus.

Review date: 24 Aug 2011
Reviewed by: Marissa Burgess

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