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Patrick Monahan: Cowboys And Iranians
Published on Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Patrick Monahan is the one and only Irish-Iranian-Geordie at the Edinburgh Fringe (this year, anyway). Monahan, now in his tenth year at the Fringe, looks at the funny side of communication in the more adult-oriented of his two shows. He also performs in a storytelling show for children, Stories and Fables for Kids that like to sit at Tables!

The title of this show, Cowboys and Iranians, is a little misleading: I expected an American-Iranian political satire, but the subject was only mentioned once during the whole show. This cleverly caught the audience off guard, a fact Monahan then used to yank people into his act.

He likes to interact a lot with the audience and especially the front row, playing well off their fumbling responses to easy questions and embarrassing comments about friends and family. I especially enjoyed his anecdotes, more often associated with old-style comedy, and his family and social background provide a deep source of great stories. The quick and ad lib wit, combined with longer well-built tales, make him a winning presence.

Monahan is clever, charming, good looking and doesn’t stop talking for the whole hour. I did feel, however, that the show lacked variety – the theme around mixed messages needed, at times, a “plan B”. My main criticism, though, is reserved for the venue – too much black, and lack of lighting was a problem for such a casual stand-up style, leading him to apologise for the venue at the beginning of the show.

Patrick Monahan, in a difficult situation, manages a novel combination of modern social satire with old-fashioned storytelling, and is a good evening out. If a cowboy and an Iranian did walk into a bar… well, there’s probably a joke in there.

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