Helen O'Brien: Bronagh's Big Weekend (2 stars)

This article is from 2013

Helen O'Brien: Bronagh's Big Weekend

80's nostalgia act is more of a storytelling piece than an out-and-out comedy show

Was there a clerical error committed when Helen O’Brien’s show was popped into the comedy section of the Fringe programme? As a piece of nostalgic fare about the mid-1980s, it hits one or two spots, but it’s more of a one-woman storytelling piece with the odd laugh than an out-and-out comedy show. The opening to Bronagh’s Big Weekend pretty much gives it all away as O’Brien starts with a spot of wholly unironic Irish dancing, lapped up by a predominantly middle-aged crowd.

There are in-between scene bursts of Adam and The Ants and Culture Club as we follow the tale of Bronagh, an Oldham girl of Irish parentage in an area where previous distrust of celtic tribes has now been replaced with offspring given names such as Liam and Conor.

Bronagh enters a major jigging competition, gets handed the dubious honour of being a bridesmaid at her cousin’s wedding and is about to ‘become a woman’. O’Brien is impossible not to like as she brings alive the era but the comedy is just far too gentle, even for an early afternoon slot.

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 25 Aug, 12.50pm, £8.50–£10 (£7–£9).

Helen O'Brien: Bronagh's Big Weekend

  • 2 stars

O'Brien delights with storytelling about the biggest weekend of her life thus far: the Irish Dancing Competition, her 13th birthday and being a bridesmaid at Sean's wedding. Sounds exhausting.