Dublin Fringe Review: Drowning

Review by Siofra Ni Shluaghadháin

Marise Gaughan cuts an uneasy figure throughout this set in the Fringe Club. Over the hour, she never quite settles into her own routine. Perhaps this is intentional. Drowning is not an easy show. Dealing with her father’s suicide, and her own struggles with mental illness, it is a show that dares, but which ultimately does not succeed.

Framed as dark comedy, there is no stone left unturned. Mental illness, the disenchantment of the millennial generation, incest and drug abuse all make an appearance throughout the hour.

However, Gaughan, with her distant manner, never really tries to connect with the audience, and in a lot of ways, it feels like she is not performing, but reciting. She makes comments about jokes not landing, when they did, and engages in a form of meta-comedic performance that ultimately serves no purpose to the audience.

Some comedians make jokes about doing stand-up because it’s cheaper than going to therapy (thanks to Abie Filmin Bowmen for reminding us of this trope). In drowning, it feels like we are witnessing something, but Gaughan makes no effort to tell us what it is.

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