Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Terry Christian’s Naked Confessions of a Recovering Catholic - rough around the edges but no act of penance #OTL14

Terry Christian’s one man show was built around his sense that his character and experience has been negatively shaped by a Catholic upbringing. His experience of Catholicism – or at least the version he recounts for the benefit of his show – was heavy on burning for eternity, the futility of praying to St Jude (the patron saint of lost causes), perverted priests, stern nuns, guilt (sometimes guilt at having nothing decent to confess to) and sexual repression.

The lunchtime gig at the Out to Lunch festival – Terry described it as PG … not sure I’d like to have been at the 18 version tonight – walked the audience through his poverty-stricken childhood in Manchester, the outside loo, being sent to the library by his Mum, passing the 11 plus and going to the posh all-male catholic school despite qualifying for free school meals. Towards the end we heard a little about his career in Manchester radio.

It’s a sign of a changed Belfast when a performer can ask members of an audience to put their hand up if they’re Catholic … and they do, only pausing to check whether being a lapsed Catholic counts as hands up or hands down!

The show started strongly with the audience laughing along with the banter and the insights into Terry’s angry, messed up world. But as the hour long performance progressed, the material loosened and the laughter was less regular. It might have been a result of Terry compressing his longer routine into the lunchtime slot. Maybe the woman who heckled him from the front row knocked him off his stride! Certainly we didn’t hear much about his time in the Big Brother house … for this small mercy we should be thankful.

As the clock struck two and the lunchtime audience started to glance shiftily at their watches and wonder if they could fit in a quick confession on the way back to work, Terry suddenly wrapped up his routine with a crescendo and it was all over.

Rough around the edges, Terry Christian’s stand-up debut shows promise and was no act of penance for the audience, but he really needs to go back to the library to prune his material if he wants to keep us laughing.

The Out to Lunch Festival continues with lunchtime (and evening) gigs until 26 January.

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