Live Review: Tommy Tiernan, Soho Theatre

Tommy Tiernan

Update 23/6/15. Following his successful London run - see the review below – Tommy Tiernan has just added two major London shows as follows. . 

WED 23 SEPT - Forum, Kentish Town. Tickets here.

THU 24 SEPT - Shepherds Bush Empire. Tickets here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There is not really another stand-up like Tommy Tiernan. I’m not even sure if this grizzled Irishman counts as a stand-up any more. In his latest show, Out of the Whirlwind, he is part-sage, part-daydreamer, part-Godot tramp screaming into the abyss.

Whatever his job title, however, he is still mind-bendingly funny. Tiernan grabs familiar comedy “big questions” such as ageing, gender wars and religion and flips them around, finding new ways of saying old things. As for Ireland’s recent gay marriage referendum, “we finally admitted that homosexuality exists”. He is at his best bemoaning his own decaying body. Unlike the elaborate beards he sees on almost every young man, his grey face fungus resembles “a ditch in winter”. There is a mischievous lyricism to his rage. At one point he considers his declining libido and mournfully suggests that if he went to an orgy he would probably make the tea.

It makes sense that Tiernan is appearing on Soho’s upstairs stage, where there are usually plays, rather than in the comedy basement. There is a theatricality to his performance as he varies pace and volume and addresses the floor almost as often as the audience.

Some of the answers to his big questions might be debatable, but this barely matters. Even in a gleefully un-PC section towards the end about race which triggers some guilty laughs, he is never less than mesmerising.

Until June 20, sohotheatre.com. This review first appeared in the Evening Standard.

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