Review: Fr Damo, Fr Stone and Eoin McLove reunited

From left, comedians Joe Rooney, Patrick McDonnell and Michael Redmond, aka Fr Damo, Eoin McLove and Fr Stone
Jane Hardy

Further Ted: Michael Redmond, Joe Rooney and Patrick McDonnell at Out To Lunch Festival in The Black Box, Belfast

CAN it really be 20 years since Father Ted became television and dwelt among us? Yes, unfortunately it can, considering the anno domini makeover visible in the three stand-ups – Michael Redmond, Patrick McDonnell and Joe Rooney, aka Fr Stone, Eoin McLove and Fr Damo in the TV show – who warmed up the Black Box last night in their second Out To Lunch festival gig.

Mr Redmond kicked off proceedings, if that’s not too energetic a verb. His delivery gives new meaning to the term deadpan. Although his subjects were a bit predictable, Redmond was good with the audience and managed to locate the family from Co Tyrone.

On next was Patrick McDonnell, the strange pop star of fond memory – indeed, not a few spectators remembered his punchlines, including "That smells of wee!"

McDonnell was edgier, funnier and sweatier than Fr Stone. He cantered through some strong material, including same-sex marriage and the Catholic Church, abortion and the Catholic Church, the Orange Order (for balance), the and the north-south Irish divide. He was good on the English too, observing that Cromwell razed Drogheda “and did some bad things too”.

Even on obvious topics like the rise of foodie-ism, McDonnell was droll, saying that when high on basil in 2007, he hallucinated and thought his Dublin house was worth €1.2 million.

After a Lovely Ladies’ contest (we all remember that episode), won inevitably by a lovely boy, David the bin man, we got Joe Rooney. Fr Damo, as ever, brought his guitar. He can play the instrument but more fun than the hit-and-miss musical spoofing were his riffs on relationships, America and the strip club, and, of course, his Catholic boyhood. It all ended with some bangs, some near-bangs and a musical whimper.

What was noticeable was the comics’ deployment of some of Father Ted writers Graham Linehan and Arthur Matthews’ favourite humorous tricks – that is, bathos, inappropriate truthfulness and repetition of funny words, including those with four or five letters. Here’s to the next reunion.

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