Tommy Tiernan | Crooked Man
Review by: Caroline Foran
Hailed by critics as the best thing he has ever done, I couldn't wait to see Tommy Tiernan's Crooked Man in action. The aptly titled show is an hour and a half of pure lunacy. During this time, Tiernan invites his audience to revel in the streams of consciousness that make him the genius we know and love.
As he emerged on stage, whispering his thoughts while he lurked in the darkness, sporting quite the three piece suit, it was clear that Tiernan has grown up. Gone are the days of shouting an audience to its knees: he is now more low-key and less controversial for the sake of being controversial, a mature and confident performer. At the outset we were warned that he is now officially a sufferer of 'Borderline Personality Disorder,' and he's delighted about it.
One hell of a storyteller, much of Tiernan's material was based around his family and life as a touring comedian. When his initial chit chat simmered down, he began with an impressive routine on religion wherein he asked existential questions about the fundamentals of each and every persuasion from Hinduism to Catholicism. From the get go, his hilarious insights had the audience in the palm of his hand. Tiernan then weaved in questions of Irishness – only we would decide to schedule the biggest piss up of all time, Paddy's Day, in the middle of lent, "as if Jesus came out of the desert and said ah lads the divil (sic) is wreckin' me head, give us a pint will ye". Moving on to his musings on ageing, sex over 40, and how we're fairing in this recession, "Money doesn't suit us anyway" and (on the EU Bailout) "We have it in the bag lads, all we need to do is do nothing" were among his enlightening conclusions.
The highlight for me was the innocent yet hysterical story of how his wife deals with his incessant snoring. "Wife: (punches Tiernan) You're snoring! Tiernan: How could I be, I'm awake. Reading a book. In a restaurant." To combat the problem she then insisted on buying him a snoring device that wrapped around his head like "something out of an 18th century psychiatric ward". Regaling us with tales of how his kids then responded to the contraption, I thought I'd need oxygen. His material might not have been the most innovative of stuff but his precision and timing was impeccable.
While the content of this show is arguably more subdued as he endeavours to shake off his previous 'controversial' tag, (read more on this in his interview here) his energy and passion for performance has not diminished. Dancing around the stage like a jacked up leprechaun, delivering faultless routines that flow like wine, Tiernan was in heaven. "I'd rather be playing the fiddle in the dark and hope that you can hear me rather than give into rationality and logic." And just like that, he was gone.
Never have I experienced a comedian reveal more about their inner psyche or better understand themselves than Tiernan does in Crooked Man. The show is fluid, funny and so enjoyable it's over before you know it. This is Tiernan at his best.
Story by EI Team | 09:00 | Monday 27th June 2011 | Comedy