STAND UP COMEDY
Edinburgh Fringe 2017: Gráinne Maguire @ Gilded Balloon Teviot
What the Edinburgh Fringe website says:
Joaquin Phoenix, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Osama Bin Laden – there's always been a buzz around tricky celebrity names. Can Gráinne jump on the trend before she's deported with the other EU immigrants? From one of the writers of 8 out of 10 Cats and as heard on Radio 4's Breaking the News and More Money than Sense. 'Brilliantly fusing the personal and political... a performer who knows how to tell a story' **** (Scotsman), 'An original comic voice... keen for humour to be politically engaged' (Fest).
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How do you pronounce her name?
Gráinne, she of the uber-Irish first name (“it could only be more Irish if it was written in shamrocks” she proclaims), starts kicks off her enjoyable show "Gráinne with a Fada" by answering the question on everyone’s lips: how do you pronounce it? It turns out that it sounds something like “groin-ya”, although her own spelling is rather more creative. She takes a wonderfully self-effacing look at Irish politics and the stereotypes associated with the nationality, even down to a series of hilarious parodies of various well-known films and plays, had they been made in her country. There’s there’s particularly wonderful joke about playing the film Titanic backwards, and another about Wind and the Willows (I won’t detail them here, as they work better in context).
The slant is unashamedly political, slyly taking aim at the country’s own obsession with its rather dark history. As someone born on the island of Ireland I have obviously had more experience with the subject matter than most of the audience, so I can say that her points were, for the most part, razor-sharp. The country’s politics have long been a touchy subject, and I think it’s unhelpful to them to be as such. Without putting these issues out in the open in a safe environment it makes them much harder to move on from, and in this respect, Gráinne should be commended.
However, her repertoire is clearly considerably broader in focus, exploring such subjects as shy people (“they aren’t trying hard enough”), the Brexit experience as an immigrant, Taylor Swift, feminism, how Scottish Donald Trump is (he’s looking more like Irn Bru by the day), loneliness and female flirting techniques. Even if a minority of the jokes fall flat (albeit not too many) she remains sufficiently aware of the fact to send things right back on track. Besides which, she has such a captivating presence and sense of honesty about the experiences she comedically relates that it’s easy to overlook any lulls.
Tickets are available from the following link: