Patrick Monahan has an energy that could wake the dead. In a last minute preview before the Edinburgh Festival (which was, at the time, imminent), the Irish-Iranian-Geordie comic was adding the final flourishes to his latest stand up hour, working on cementing the overall structure of the show, yet he bounded on stage with the confidence of a man that new the next sixty minutes were to go swimmingly, regardless of how far progressed his material was in that moment.
A show that begins with several minutes of vigorous seventies style dancing from the older members of our Birmingham audience is not the way I expected Patrick to get the ball rolling, but comedy is all about new experiences, and we were clearly there to learn. The hour (and the rest) itself is a personal and honest account of the comedian’s experiences as a young boy growing up in Iran in the 1970s, with heavy influences from the world of dance, of course, as this appears to be Patrick’s speciality.
I was born in the late 1990s and it’s fair to say that I know very little of what went on in the 70s (or even the 80s and 90s for that matter) other than the obvious pop culture stereotypes and a brief understanding of international tensions at the time. Diverse, to say the least. But not only were us younger audience members (or “the children” as we were referred to) able to learn a little more about what living in the 1970s was like for many, we were also invited to be a part of the discussion, which resulted in many laughs and a unified feel in the room. Forgetting, possibly, that the house lights were up for the entirety of the show, Monahan nurtured and maintained a friendly, sociable atmosphere. Even if that meant unknowingly encroaching on regional banter with innocent questions like “which is nicer, Worcester or Wolverhampton?”.
Patrick Monahan is a truly charming comic who exhibits great care for his audiences as well as for the quality of his craft, making his show one of the most enjoyable and uplifting experiences to be had at the Fringe.
Patrick Monahan is currently performing his show The Disco Years at the Edinburgh Festival.