Keith Farnan follows recent shows on race and gender relations with a look at the economic crisis in Ireland and the wider psychology of money. If that all sounds like the domain of an Arts Council-funded verbatim theatre company rather than a stand-up comedian recently seen on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, then you’re missing out.
With a charmingly Irish manner and mind that defies stereotypes about his people’s intelligence, Farnan has a gift for making a crowd laugh and an atypical desire to make them think. From the psychological impact of the Irish recession (correlating with rises in suicide and insomnia) to our uncomfortable need to ascribe monetary value to our lives (he notes that Easyjet’s passenger policy offers £30 per 24-hour hostage period in the event of a hijacking), he constantly finds gem-like moments of humour and surprise.
I gave Farnan’s 2010 outing, Sex Traffic, a full five stars. Here I’m churlishly docking marks because the show doesn’t quite cohere as tightly and deals with slightly less original comic themes; but he remains one of Edinburgh's most intelligent, questioning performers and sharpest comic wits, and is a true pleasure to spend an hour with.