Great People Making Great Choices is all about stories, and its story is a slow-burn. Gráinne Maguire takes to the stage, and then takes a little while to get going. She’s immediately funny, showing us quickly why she might fit in to a revolutionary civil war – mainly because she looks cute in a bullet belt, as she’s all too happy to model.
So, stories then. The show concerns peoples fascination with stories, focussing on Maguire’s unusual affinity for them. It’s very smartly structured, in fact almost like a story. There are some clever meta-narrative tricks snuck in that only make themselves apparent some time after viewing.
It makes for a unique comedy show that doesn’t quite fall under any category. It’s not quite observational, not quite one-liners, though there a good few traditional jokes. What it is, is a brothy mix of comedy styles tied together by Maguire’s inherent likeability, excellent theming, and genuinely hilarious facial expressions. They’re so good you can add physical comedy to the mix of styles.
True to many stories, Maguire can labour a joke a little too long before getting to the point. It’s never egregious, and rarely particularly bothersome, but occasionally there’s unnecessary preamble that dents the otherwise impeccable structure.
There’s a great deal covered in the hour, from national identity, to Beauty and the Beast, right through to tweeting menstrual diaries at heads of state. No matter how disparate the subjects, all of them relate to the stories people tell themselves. Whatever else can said of the show, what sticks in the memory is how well-built it all is.
Great People Making Great Choices is one of the best structured hours of material at the Fringe, not to mention smart, insightful, and just a little bit daft. Not a show for raucous laughter, but one for appreciating the craft of comedy, and how inventive someone can be when they know the rules and when to break them.