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Roisin Conaty: Hero, Warrior, Fireman, Liar
Published on Wednesday, 18 August 2010

3.5 stars

Pleasance Dome (venue website)
Until 30 Aug, 6:15pm (7:15pm)
Reviewed by Craig Thomson

A recent conversation with a nun caused Roisin Conaty to consider the course of her life, and indirectly led to this highly enjoyable hour.  In this show, she considers with the audience what we can each of us be: Hero, Warrior, Fireman, Liar.

The nun in question was calling from Conaty's old school, inviting her to return to speak to the latest group of girls preparing to make their own way in life.  Hero, Warrior, Fireman, Liar is a reflection on Conaty's life and ambitions, taking us through the process of working out just what it was she could tell those teenagers - leaving the comfortable environment of compulsory education and heading into the cruel, cold world.

As a performer, Roisin Conaty has an exuberant and constantly-excited manner which makes her a winning presence on stage.  Her stories and observations are both amusing and personal, and build to a memorable and touching finale.

Conaty starts her show with a short in-character performance, in a frizzy wig and multicoloured mumu; later she remarks that she always wanted a warm-up of her own, so she booked herself.  Although the narrative was more sophisticated in the latter part of the show, it seemed to me that this opening section was better received.  The strictures of the character forced a creativity and confidence that was not as pronounced in the more personal stand-up section.

During the main portion of the show, a fair amount of the audience interaction - de rigeur for stand-up, of course - seemed a bit artificial.  The questions felt forced, with no sense of spontaneity or engagement with the answer, and no sparking off in a new direction.  Nonetheless, Conaty maintains a connection with the audience thoughout, largely due to her boundless charisma and easy charm.

Hero, Warrior, Fireman, Liar is a fine act by a fine comedian, a sober but never-dull reflection on life that will leave you laughed-out and uplifted.

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These are archived reviews of shows from the Edinburgh Fringe 2010.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to those we've featured, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

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