Eleanor Tiernan carries herself with a humble air of awkwardness, without frills or gimmicks. That makes the incidental electric fans either side of her, intermittently blowing her hair like an 80's pop star, completely at odds with her low-key persona. Her droll, deadpan delivery, as she freely admits, often alienates her audiences – especially if they happen to be Filipino biker gangs.
The audience has to work to find the jokes tucked away beneath her off-beat, often banal observations, on subjects like supermarket etiquette and potential mother-in-laws trying out new mattresses. But the pauses and confusion are what make Tiernan stand out from the average happy-go-lucky comedian. She is conversational and openly distracted. At one point an audience member interrupts with a bizarre heckle, saying Eleanor looks like her friend Sheila Murphy; a very specific and unnecessarily detailed interaction begins, which feels very much at home in an Eleanor Tiernan gig.
Because Tiernan's act is refreshingly unconventional. Not a cliché in sight. Her use of similes is a particular joy, and the images she plants trying to work out what the 'thing' is that she won on a plane stay with you long after the show. She flits from musings about the effect of the Irish Marriage referendum on her home county Roscommon, to stories of growing up as a Catholic, and as an overachiever with a mother who (she claims) was more concerned about children with real social problems than her own.
Her determination to see the funny side of life in her own way, without any apology, has clearly caused confusion in public – notably in appearances on daytime television. But she doesn't need to explain her reasoning, at least not to anyone aware that she is a comedian. If you can't tell that someone might be joking about how offended they are by the inappropriate banter in Dublin butcher's shops, that's just too bad… although it does give her some fantastically cringeworthy anecdotes to share.
Tiernan's material may revolve around people struggling to "get" her humour. But on this evidence, Eleanor Tiernan has found her audience here.