Pat Cahill: Panjandrum

The friend I brought along to Panjandrum remarked on the way out that Pat Cahill is a ‘very old fashioned kind of comedian’. It hadn’t really struck me before – he takes risks, uses gimmicks and sprinkles a dash of surreal imagery throughout his act – things I might associate with a brand of comedy that has thrived at the Fringe since the alternative revolution. But when I thought back to some of the highlights of the show, I appreciated what he meant. Beyond the obvious aesthetics (Cahill sports an army helmet throughout and sporadically launches into joyfully silly 40s music hall pastiches), he is something of an all-rounder – a fast-talking song and dance man, witty, warm towards his audience, and keen to make them feel part of the show. Take a couple of the swears out and you probably could transfer most of this to a 1953 audience and still send the audience home happy.

If you’re not sure about a gag or an idea (not everything hits the mark) he’s straight onto the next bit before you’ve had chance to breathe (and I was left gasping during a song involving an intimate family body part). It’s paced nicely and the entertainment is varied – something of a variety show, then. It’s quirky and daft, and he looks like he’s enjoying himself a whole heap.

Cahill has worked extensively with John Kearns, and to be honest I can’t say I enjoyed his 2014 Fosters Award-winning show much more than Cahill’s today. Good value, infectious, recommended.


James Rose

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