Just the Tonic @ the Caves
5-29 August, 22:15

I love the weirdness of a late-night stand-up act in which a sweet young Irish comedian talks about her love of 19th-century literature and how it’s woven itself into her attitude to life. It’s very silly, very subtle and rather wonderful.

The conceit of Grainne Maguire’s show develops from jokes about her own upbringing as compared to her heroines in Austen or Hardy (who is “like you at 15 but with more alliteration”) to being a surprisingly touching discussion about her needing life to be like those classic novels.

“Real life isn’t as well written as that,” she observes at one point. At another, after describing a traumatic incident in her life, she says, “the person I thought I could be walked away from me”.

Maguire charmingly blends her personal analysis and literary smarts with her hugely engaging personality. I know little about stand-up comedy and not much more about several of the novels she so adores. But I now know a bit about Grainne Maguire and I like it all.

- Benet Catty