- John-Paul Holden
- 20 August 2010
This article is from 2010.
Come in, come in!
There's a distinctly homely feel about Ardal O'Hanlon's Fringe 2010 outing. Following priestly celibacy and superhero capers, his current material addresses losing to the kids at Connect Four, the challenges of sex with a pregnant wife and the weather (yes, the weather).
Even international themes - global economic recession, the impact of President Obama, climate change – come across as worthy and comfortable, as if they were gleaned from the world section of the comedian's broadsheet of choice.
Not that there's anything wrong with topicality or hearth and home. But familiar material carries comedic risks and O'Hanlon's treatment is frustratingly uneven, with every insight chainballed by lines that feel well-worn and even a little stale. A smart piece of wordplay in which 'cassock' becomes an anagram for 'ass' and 'cock' - and a verbal embodiment of the Papacy's dissembling tendencies - is accompanied by the rather less earthshattering gag that child abuse by priests might be solved by 'reducing the age of consent to six'.
O'Hanlon is most effective when pondering national character, his observations nicely complemented by a cheery-yet-jittery persona. Contrasting New World hope with Celtic melancholy, he notes that, whereas full-of-sunshine Americans leap out of bed, an Irishman worries about 'cutting his feet on broken dreams'. It's a gorgeous aside, arresting and lyrical, and the kind of touch this overly domesticated show could do with more of.
Assembly@George Street, 0131 623 3030, until 22 August, 7.25pm, £14 - £15 (£13 - £14)