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Caimh McDonnell: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Julia Chamberlain

This is a jolly wee show presented by an engaging comedian.  He started off by disingenuously claiming to have no small talk and to not get on with anybody.

That is, of coursem ridiculous. First he is a comedian, his raison d’etre is finding the right words for any situation, second he’s Irish, which gives him a head start for the task. Anyone ever met a tongue tied Irish comedian? Thought not, but it was a reasonable starting point.

Caimh McDonnell is a valued member of the UK comedy circuit and it was presumably force of habit that led him to compere his way into the first few minutes of the show, shaking hands with several members of the audience in order to comment on the expectation of social handshakes, too weak, too long, too strong, how easy it is to get wrong, some observations about the venue (very nice, BTW)   So far, so unexceptional, this might have been the start of any club night.

But it got better than that.  He had a fund of stories that entertained for the whole hour, commentary on the comedian’s life, his exceptional girlfriend,  living in Manchester, which brings its own considerable  frustrations, from the postcode related insurance battering to violent badger-related incidents.  It really warmed up with the family anecdotes from Ireland and he topped it with a potentially tragic story of a man with mental health issues.

The strengths of this show were his fluency and his ability to cast a spell over his crowd.  Even as he gently mocked his compatriots’ tendency to jaw the hind leg off a donkey, he was doing it himself.   He didn’t seem to have a misanthropic bone in his body.  I feel churlish suggesting that what the show could do with is a bit more grit, bite or backbone because it is what it is. The ambition seemed modest, this was a closer to a good bar chat than a  performance.

McDonnell has a good teatime show, a post-work, pre-dinner event that will leave you without your socks blown off but considerably cheered by his self deprecating and vigorous storytelling.

Review date: 20 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Julia Chamberlain
Reviewed at: Just The Tonic at The Tron

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