This is the fifth Fringe outing for fizzy Irish standup and self-confessed former annoying child Gráinne Maguire, following on from last year’s Great People Make Great Choices, and taking place in a world where everything’s slightly less fine than it was a year ago. The titular fada is that little line above the letter “a” (I Googled it): it’s an Irish thing, which tells you how to pronounce words like Gráinne (I Googled that too).
Culture-clash stand-up pops up a lot at the Fringe, often as an early outing for a comic looking for an easy source of material. Gráinne’s not one of those: she’s well-seasoned and it shows. Through the haze of a slightly unsettling maniacal fervour, she bounces with glee and apparent constant surprise around tales from her Irish Catholic upbringing, feminism, trying hard not to be a try-hard, and snowmen’s ears – all while deftly weaving through threads of her heritage, and the shadow of her drama teacher.
Maguire is a natural comedian, having chosen the career at the age of four in order to cement her role as the favourite grandchild. She’s shirked the secret weapon of shyness all her life, and her confidence on stage puts the audience instantly at ease. The material here is original and unpredictable, and often political without being grumbly. She treads gently around the bruises of Brexit and the US, occasionally addressing them through the eyes of her older Irish kin; in contrast, the ridiculousness of the comedy gender divide is astutely articulated, with graphic candour.
There’s a lot going on here, with nebulous little nuggets of ideas buzzing around some major thematic ones. They’re all great, but they don’t necessarily contribute to the show’s coherence, and it all feels a bit like a wonderful comedy cloud. Like a good meal, you’ll be picking bits of this show out of your teeth for hours after it’s finished, assembling shreds of Jedward and dentists and The Troubles in post-production.
In all this is a delightful, incisive hour of truth and madness from a talented and deeply likeable comedian. It's well worth checking out; expect to see a lot more of Gráinne Maguire.