Catherine Bohart: 'I wasn't really prepared to deal with a walkout, but if someone does walk out this year it will be fun'
- Brian Donaldson
- 5 August 2019
This article is from 2019
Irish stand-up tells us about the loathing she seemed to trigger in one audience member at last year's Fringe
Last year's Fringe was, in the main, a positive experience for debutant Catherine Bohart. Her show Immaculate focused on her OCD, bisexuality and religious family, and was well attended, received a slew of star-friendly reviews and garnered plenty talk of possible award nominations.
But the oft-quoted truism that any single act of comedy simply won't be for everyone was never more obvious to Bohart when she spotted one audience member sitting in a clearly displeased fashion. Her passive-aggressive negativity became distracting to the comic who just managed to keep things on course. But word reached Bohart later that her more frank material hadn't gone down well with this punter who eventually made it verbally clear that the Irish comic's act and, by extension, her very existence was an abomination to her.
The barely concealed bigotry that had oozed from this person affected Bohart so much that she simply had to write her second Fringe hour around her encounter with this woman in the lemon-coloured cardigan. 'It was week three and she was on the back row of the right-hand side in Bunker Two [in Pleasance Courtyard],' says Bohart with a very vivid recall. 'I remember her very well; I could pick her out of a line-up. I see her when I close my eyes. I was told that she said I was disgusting. I wasn't really prepared to deal with a walkout at my first Edinburgh, but if someone does walk out this year it will be fun. I'll check out what they're wearing and use it for next year.'
So, Lemon was born, and judging by the early previews in midsummer, it looks like being a very worthy follow-up to 2018's successful maiden voyage. This unsavoury incident became the trigger for a new show about sex, sexuality, relationships, bigotry and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. 'It feels like there's slightly less pressure in keeping the ball rolling than there is in getting it off the mark in the first instance,' notes Bohart about the different feelings she has just ahead of the 2019 Fringe compared to this time last year. 'The show is less prepared in a way that is good. I need to cut out some time, but I feel that it's looser in a positive way. Last year I was so rigid; I hadn't realised that I'd imposed so many rules on what a debut should be but now I'm free of that.'