Review: Nuala McKeever's new show had us giggling into the night
Nuala McKeever is a funny woman. Her new, slightly wet behind the ears stand up show, Letting Go or Losing It? which premiered last night at the Lyric, pushed the envelope a bit. There was the standard observational middle aged woman material, of course, well done. We got the menopause, weight gain (difficult to be fresh here, but she more or less achieved it) a hilarious analysis of hot flushes and a section on diy sex. Yes, really. There were roars of recognition from the mainly female middle aged women in the Naughton Studio. The 10 brave men in the audience seemed to enjoy it too.
What shone, though, was McKeever's take on politics and other aspects of the world about us. She does deadpan like a younger Jo Brand. On Karen Bradley's famous four-minute visit to sort out the Northern Irish stasis, she said briskly "Busy woman, that hair won't wash itself." And her left field take on Brexit was memorable, imagining it as a breakfast order. "You can have hard Brexit or soft Brexit..." If only we had the choice.
There were also some genuinely surreal passages, including a vision of what one could do if that extra weight (middle aged woman stuff again) could be refashioned into the man of one's dreams. A reverse spare rib scenario, of course.
Ultimately, it was a very personal evening as Nuala talked about her grief following the death of her partner Mike Moloney five years ago. She did a brilliant section about crying, not an obvious topic for stand up, making us hoot at her account of the way you can multitask, even eating a pitta and wailing. The counterpoint to this was McKeever's account of looking for a new partner via Match.com.
Deliciously insulting about the local men on offer ("Spuds!") and the quality of their photos, she said she missed lying next to a man, imagining the ways she could improve him. "I need a project." she said
In a way, that's what this sort of comedy is for. It helps us cope, laugh at the horror of the human condition (and defuse it a bit), then go out giggling into that good night.