Patrick Monahan: Rewind Selector 90s | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review by Steve Bennett
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Patrick Monahan: Rewind Selector 90s

Note: This review is from 2017

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review by Steve Bennett

Patrick Monahan does a lot of remembering in his Nineties nostalgia-fest: Do you remember dial-up? Do you remember alcopops? Do your remember mad cow disease?

But did he remember to put a lot of jokes into this? Erm, no.

Most of this desperately underwritten hour has all the depth of a Channel 5 ‘I Love The Nineties’ clip show, little more than a a list of waypoints to ring bells of recognition.

Not that he ever sticks to his topic much, as a lot of this material doesn’t even pertain to the decade. If he wants to do a bit of contemporary observational comedy, he will – just add ‘we didn’t have that in the 1990s’ somewhere and job done… very unconvincingly.

Some of the nostalgia doesn’t even work. Apparently, we had to make our own cakes in the Nineties, Was that a thing? It must have been, because Monahan has a whisk in his bum-bag to prove it. You remember the Nineties? We were all carrying whisks in our bum-bags. It was that decade’s Rubik’s Cube.

Does it matter that he’s free with the truth? Only if it doesn’t jar with your experience. In an aside he pictures the decade as a Euro love-in thanks to the Channel Tunnel opening. But it was also the decade of ‘Up Yours, Delors’ and the Maastricht Treaty that ripped apart the John Major government.

There’s much more inauthenticity when he speaks, at greater length, on the various drugs of the time, despite not being an obvious druggy comedian – a great many of whom have done this subject much better.

But the main issue is that he rarely hits punchlines, rather it’s a verbal sluicing that buries jokes in a torrent of needless noise, speaking circuitously around the ideas, half asking rhetorical questions of the audience, but with little focus and no room for anything to breathe. But then only a few of the punchlines are worth more than a mild smile.

The pace least gives the show an energy. Monahan seems in a right hurry to cram in all those unnecessary words rather than cut them, so rushes everything. The audience can barely keep up with the participation – his usual forte – as he very quickly ascribes people their roles of reckless parent, too-young-to-understand or medical profession etc. Monahan’s innate likability bundles us through, but it’s all a bit manic.

There’s some suggestion of substance in the last ten minutes, as he brings up some of the realities of growing up with an Irish dad and an Iranian mum in a poor part of the North-East, but it’s crammed in, and real stories undermined with silly lies that don’t really work. What sounds like it could be a dramatic conclusion, about a teenage street fight, crumbles to stupidity, making a contrived ending to a disappointing show.

Review date: 12 Aug 2017
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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