Gilded Balloon, Edinburgh
August, 1992

Karl MacDermott's dramatic monologue-cum-stand-up routine concerns Roddy Ryan, "Ireland's only ex-home-based anti-Irish stand-up", who links up with Terry Waite and other hostages upon their release to tour Eastern Europe in the Hostage Impro package. Ryan's descriptions of growing up with an implausible band of Italians, Jews and Poles in Western Ireland are rich in comic potential, but rarely realised. Many of his gags were lost on an audience who recognised Hollywood references to Mickey Rourke but who struggled with those to Meg Ryan and the Robert De Niro character in Cape Fear. MacDermott's affability, too, seems to work against him, blunting his comic edge to the point where the many grins his show supplies rarely break out into real laughs.

Written for The Independent.

Copyright Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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