Gráinne Maguire’s one hour work-in-progress show includes themes around nuns, time travel, ghosts, dating, being a female comedian and writer, culminating in a daydream fantasy about being married to Jim Davidson. The audience were self-effacingly asked to “text in, if you spot a link or story” showing the confidence Maguire has in the development of her writing.
Maguire has a likeable stage persona which draws the audience in with her easy-going and self-assured presence.
Pulling in a full house on a boiling hot bank holiday Sunday afternoon is a testament to her time on the circuit. Comic references to ‘not dressing for the weather’ and there being no word in the Irish language for ‘sunshine’ led to an entertaining punchline about an Irish person’s uneasy relationship with suntanning.
Latecomers were welcomed in without interrupting her flow. Jokes were well structured and required the audience to think, rather than being spoon-fed. A confident delivery with some good comic timing in the delivery of punchlines modelled her self-assured stage presence, sprinkled with a great use of facial expression and physicality.
At the time of viewing, the material did not appear to link directly with the show’s title; audiences who attend on the basis of expecting a feminist show may be disappointed. A short section on the competing triad of brain, heart and vagina, when dating a potential psychopath showed potential; I would like to see this material being developed further in order to form a larger part of the show.
Maguire presents as unassuming and understated, yet her humourous asides when the mic cut out being countered with “The patriarchy is trying to silence me” which was called back with wit and aplomb on a later repeat of the tech issue, with “The Catholic Church is trying to silence me”, shows that Maguire is capable of taking any setbacks in her stride, and turning them to her own advantage.
Insightful references to sexual harrassment in the workplace were ensconced within a particularly entertaining diatribe about Maria in The Sound of Music; a killer line about Maguire having both “black and white privilege” initially silenced the room, yet the audience were won back instantly, on delivery of the clever punchline.
Jesus’s life in heaven is juxtaposed with life in the Playboy Mansion. This built on the earlier nun material and gave a nod to issues of consent. An insightful reference to suicide bombers, within the nun material, was entertaining and thought provoking. An imagined ghost in the audience enabled Maguire to make a subtle reference to #MeToo. Material about using time travel to meet misogynists from history appealed to the audience, entailing well thought out references to Dunkirk. A set about how ghost hauntings always seem to re-enact a traumatic life event led the audience along entertaining avenues of imagery, which was later called back in the context of ghost tours.
Maguire has a likeable stage persona which draws the audience in with her easy-going and self-assured presence. Maguire set could be developed further if it moved beyond its heteronormative viewpoint. Comedy purveyors who enjoy thought-provoking material which leads to a deeper analysis should attend Maguire’s show, which should continue on an upward trajectory from its current work-in-progress status.