Naturally, I’d ignored the fact that this was meant to be a holiday and instead project managed the whole trip. I was there with a couple of friends for five days and we’d be seeing four or five shows a day – I’d checked the times and walking distances between shows, it was all going to go perfectly.
Twenty four shows (and many gin & tonic’s) later and I’ve managed to narrow down my top five shows.
Michael Stranney: Welcome to Ballybeg
Comedy (solo show, absurdist)
This was hands down the best show I saw. Michael Stranney plays his character Daniel Duffy, who is completely believable. You quickly find yourself wrapped up in his surreal and heartwarming world. Daniel paints a picture of Ballybeg, the curious Northern Irish village he’s from, and the people that live there. The tale he tells is brilliant, there are so many quirky, funny details that it’s impossible to laugh at them all. You may find yourself remembering them later and laughing to yourself on public transport.
Ivo Graham: Educated Guess
An incredibly funny show on conflicted beliefs, quizzes, politics, marches, privilege and still going on holiday with your parents. Brilliantly paced, well written and wonderfully self-deprecating.
Rose Matafeo: Sassy Best Friend
Full of energy, sass, and astute observations about society and culture. There’s s very funny sequence around the effect of her wearing glasses on a man in the front row, alongside more meaning parts on finding your personality. The whole show comes off as playful and fun.
Jenny Collier: Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Jen
Comedy (stand-up, solo show)
Jenny Collier’s show is funny, filthy and charming. The show is self-referential and she doesn’t hold back. The stories are frank, liberating and oh so funny. Not one to see with family members.
Robin Ince’s Rorschach Test
Comedy (solo show, talk)
More of a talk than a comedy show but no less brilliant for it. Ince’s excitement about his subject is contagious. He lunges across the stage as he discusses how intimidating art galleries can feel, his tricks on engaging with them, and why you definitely should.
If you’re able to catch any of these shows on tour or at Soho Theatre in London, you should do.