Edinburgh Festival Fringe comedy review: Patrick Monahan – The Disco Years, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Kate Copstick.
It says a lot for Pat Monahan’s appeal as a comic that the birth dates of his audience spanned more than half a century. And we all have an absolute ball. Well, a disco, to be fair. There is a lot of freestyling in this hour. A lot. But there is much else besides.
After a short introductory section in which we learn the calorie burning potential in everything from having sex to going to the loo (and combinations thereof) we get into the heart of the show. And great heart there is.
From his father leaving Ireland for the oil fields of Saudi Arabia and then Iran, through his meeting Pat’s Iranian/Iraqi mother there and courting her across the language barrier to Pat being born, Monahan has the entire audience with him.
Animal sacrifice, Allah and Dundee are all woven into a spellbinding narrative which is peppered with little set-piece routines about fitted wardrobes and the problems of having four wives.
When the war came in 1979/80 the family fled across the warzone and came to Teeside. Little Patrick was, of course, bullied by the bigger kids at school and the story of the day that he finally hit back is delightful, impressive and very funny.
Of course there is audience participation – the entire front row get up onstage to recreate the meeting of Pat’s mum and dad at a disco in Iran in the early Seventies. They freestyle and mosh while we sing D.I.S.C.O. – and a bloke from Grimsby in the front row finds himself and his home town repeatedly woven into the show as an example of how bad things can get.
If it is possible to make Monahan audiences love their boy more than they already do, then this is the show that will do it.
Gilded Balloon (Venue 14) until 30 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 26 August 2015
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