Whilst listed in the ‘comedy’ section of the Fringe guide, this one man performance by the Irish comedian Vinny McHale was really more like a talk or a lecture.
This is not to say it was boring or unfunny; it was engaging and compelling throughout. There were moments of light hearted humour: the gentle mocking of South Ireland’s attitude towards expressions of emotion, child-rearing and alcoholism for example, as well as moments of real hilarity: the tale of Aunt Kathleen’s fall into his grandfather’s grave at a funeral wake for instance.
However, overall this show was far more profound, reflective and serious than simple stand-up. It was more a narrated autobiography of Vinny’s childhood in Dublin, his relationship with his family, and his midlife crisis at the age of 30, which he described as ‘waiting for ever at a bus stop for a bus to come along and then realising you’re at the wrong stop’. Yet the show did not fall into the usual pitfalls of being depressive or self-indulgent (although admittedly there were moments where it veered dangerously close), but rather was emotive, engaging and deeply charming. The small studio and sparse audience added to the show’s intimate feel.
This is not a thrilling or exhilarating stand-up, but it is uplifting and thought-provoking. Worth looking in.