Andrew Ryan: Ryanopoly

You shouldn’t always believe the flyers. Ryan’s says that his show is about ‘how money can move us to places we might not want to go’. It is nothing of the sort. It starts, true, on this tack, with a quick overview of the awful Irish economy ‘in recession since 1948’. Listening to a mate’s tale of woe, he decides he must do something about it. So he does. He decides to stay in England. This is hardly cutting-edge political comedy.

However, he veers off soon enough into what he does best, which is to riff on the surroundings, and on the audience. We weren’t easy. All eleven of us, including 3 Germans, 2 Swiss and 3 Australians. Does humour travel? In this section it did. Ryan has the knack of teasing out comedic gold from people, saving up the details to make killer connections later.

His professed theme returns from time to time - there are excellent set pieces on dealing with banks demanding their overdrafts be paid and people trying to sell you phone insurance. However, never do you feel that you’re being seriously teased or provoked into thought. We all agree, Bankers - Bad, Nurses - Good. The effect is of a group of mates sitting around in a bar, getting joshed by the clown of the group but always on the same side. It’s a tad smug.

There are occasional forays into edgier territory, such a distinctly dubious crack comparing suicide bombers and paedophile priests. But every time Ryan does this, he immediately says, ‘Only joking, only joking.’ This puppy-like ingratiation becomes irritating after a while. There’s such a thing as wanting to be liked too much.

There is clearly talent here, but little discipline at the moment. The laughs are there, but they should come quicker and in some kind of coherent sequence. Ryan needs to decide what to do with his abilities.

Reviews by Peter Scott-Presland

Charing Cross Theatre

Jacques Brel is Alive and Living in Paris

★★★
Jermyn Street Theatre

Return of the Soldier

★★★
Southwark Playhouse

Eye of a Needle

★★★★
Rosemary Branch Theatre

The Trial of the Jew Shylock

★★★
Southwark Playhouse

In The Heights

★★★★

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The Blurb

Is life a board game? Is money moving us where we don't want to go? Irishman Andrew Ryan wants to take back control of the game. 'Utterly brilliant, going to be a huge star' **** (Time Out).

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