Patrick Monahan's Stories and Fables for Kids That Like to Sit at Tables!
Fringe stalwart ups the ante in lovely kids comedy
This article is from 2009.
When asked to queue quietly for Patrick Monahan’s first show for kids, one young audience member groans, ‘It’s just like being at school.’ It’s a shame then that more teachers aren’t like Monahan, whose artful blend of comedy, storytelling and energetic dancing has children, parents and a smattering of lone adults riveted, instantly quelling any such complaints.
Under the guise of a 467-year-old Middle Eastern storyteller, Monahan – a half-Irish, half-Iranian Teesider – is in danger of swaying into negative stereotype territory, but he deftly avoids it through his effortlessly charming way of talking. And while there’s something a little incongruous about hearing a Geordie accent emanate from this sparkly turban-wearing, magic carpet-flying performer, it only adds to the comedy.
In between his storytelling, there is much audience interaction – which could present Monahan with a few problems on the odd day that shyer kids attend. However, he patiently asks questions in a way that’s gentle but far from patronising and teases out children’s confidence so skilfully that by the end, they’re all eager to be part of his big finale.
What’s more, the jokes aren’t too different in tone from his regular stand-up, which has always had a family-friendly air, and it’s testament to Monahan’s universal wit that eight-year-olds and 48-year-olds double over with laughter at the same punchlines. It all serves to create an atmosphere so convivial you wish more comedians performed for children – although there’s no need to take any along to enjoy this big-hearted show.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, 622 6552, until 30 Aug (not 20), 1.30pm, £7–£8 (£6–£7).