Review: Gráinne Maguire: I Forgive You; Please Like Me

The Irish comic artfully draws the personal and political together

★★★
comedy review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 03 Aug 2018
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Gráinne Maguire: I Forgive You; Please Like Me

For all of her hot takes on politics and current affairs, Gráinne Maguire is a hot mess when it comes to relationships. A vociferous feminist and socialist, unafraid of cracking wise about the IRA at a Sinn Féin benefit organised by her family, she's nevertheless drawn to sleazy Tory men. Where other women see warning signs, she sees only a dramatic, if complicated, love story. And that's despite her cynicism about The Sound of Music – a film she gleefully deconstructs for its dubious romance and misleading portrayal of nuns, her authority on the subject informed by her Catholic education, bride of Christ “look” and a subtly established, delightfully dark and twisted routine about the sexual repression and manipulation of God's servants via their underwear.

As ever with Maguire, matters of the heart and her restless mind are projected onto the body politic, her highly-strung angst and knowing self-righteousness viewed through a prism of class and an Ireland that's rather too enamoured with “lovely girls” and its reputation for the craic.

The tale of her tryst with a reasonably high-profile sex pest is a neat, sideways way to approach the #MeToo movement, not least in her delusion that she's somehow different to the other women he misled. And she artfully draws the personal and political together. These thematic strands could perhaps cohere more consistently in a show that's occasionally infected by the breathless chaos of Maguire's personal life. But it's certainly never dull.