Roisin Conaty – Edinburgh Festival review

Don’t judge Roisin Conaty from the quality of Lifehunter, says EiF’s correspondent

Roisin_Conaty5Roisin Conaty is a good stand-up. I know this because I’ve seen her deliver the goods in her full-length show earlier this year. She’s a lovely gobby bundle of joy, finding humour in the even the most ordinary bits of the everyday, serving it up straight and giving you a boost for the road.

Unfortunately, Lifehunter seems to showcase little of this talent. It’s not that the material isn’t there, it’s just that we race through it without stopping off to check whether or not that was a joke we just passed back there. Ostensibly a show about searching for happiness (read: get a dog), it’s a medley of quickfire stories that surely would have been cracking if we’d had long enough to hear them out. Conaty seems flustered and rushed, short-changing good solid punchlines with a hurried delivery. She does confess to being chatty – this is usually her winning feature, but here it seems to be her Achilles heel.

The material is solid but its potential never quite comes to fruition. She reflects on selecting your drinking pals carefully (‘I’m using up my units on you’), the irritation of slow-talking children, and why people will caution you extensively about the time-commitment that comes with pets when they won’t say two words about babies. It’s like an trove of gemstones left unturned: time whooshes by, and it’s not that it isn’t enjoyable, it’s just that we arrive at the end without the sense of really having got anywhere.

She drew the short straw as well with a tricky audience, comprised largely of two big groups that seemed more interested in having conversations amongst themselves than with her. The small setting of the Pleasance Beside did not help with this – the room split, and she couldn’t quite rein them in. For someone who loves talking to her audience as much as Conaty does, and relishes the interaction with them, that’s a bit of a kick in the teeth.

A cracking stand-up, but not at her best. Don’t judge Conaty on the quality of Lifehunter: it really doesn’t do her justice.

2 stars
• Roisin Conaty is on at 8.40pm at the Pleasance Courtyard
Review written by Sarah Sharp

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