I walked, I danced, Iran | Patrick MonahanPhoto - Steve Ullathorne

Irish-Iranian Monahan will greet you with a hug and part you with a kiss. He effortlessly gets the audience on his side but fails to do enough with them once they are there. He is constantly amusing without ever being hilarious.

This show is certainly unique to this festival. A large chunk of the material involves alternately discrediting Australians (who cop flak for wearing flip-flops and being unemployed) and the British (for being thieves and incapable of operating folding chairs).

Monahan displays a striking ability to go off on an audience-induced tangent for ten minutes and still find his way back, without significant turbulence, to his own agenda. And he shows none of the tell-tale hesitancy of less experienced comics, whose sets tend to be punctuated with the rather unfunny ‘urrgh’. Monahan skips breathlessly on, camouflaging his thinking time by talking charmingly to himself.

Monahan is perhaps too responsive to his audience, who can be relied upon to provide only a moderate amount of humorous lubricant. Were he to stick to his own well-practiced and well-slicked track, based on the quality of some of the scripted material here, I feel Monahan would have a greater chance of bringing the tent down.

The show finishes with an (overlong) spot of Iranian break-dancing. It is a crescendo which keeps one grinning without threatening to induce too much laughter, and so doing neatly reflects the pattern of the show more broadly.

2011 Adelaide Fringe Festival
I walked, I danced, Iran
Patrick Monahan

Venue: The Cupola | The Garden Of Unearthly Delights Adelaide
Dates/Times: 22 Feb - 13 Mar (excl. 28 Feb) at 10.45pm
Duration: 60 mins
Tickets: $25 (Conc, Tue & Preview 22 - 23 Feb $20)
Bookings: FringeTix - 1300 FRINGE (1300 374 643) | www.adelaidefringe.com.au

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This is a production of which any director, cast and theatre company should be proud.