Review: James Meehan - Gaz at Just The Tonic at The Caves

If James Meehan made one mistake it was categorising this show as a comedy.

He is an accomplished monologist, perhaps even a great one, who bravely tackles a range of issues spanning sexual assault, mental illness and a benefit system that all too often fails those who rely on it. In these serious moments, Meehan more than holds his own as a performer. He is emotional and sincere; it’s compelling to watch. Unfortunately, it is in the lighter moments where the show breaks down.

Meehan describes Gaz as the story of his life and begins at the beginning, discussing his early years on tough housing estate. He grew up quickly, caring for his mother who, for a period of time, was unable to leave the house. He moves onto a relationship in which he was supposedly mistreated and gaslighted, rather thrillingly by a woman who is also performing a show based on her version of events at the Fringe this year, although he does not say who. Following this relationship, his mental health suffered and a tough road back to wellness ensued. Running throughout the narrative is a river of jokes, few of which produce the desired result. Meehan himself acknowledges this several times and the awkward glances between audience members increase. He states that the show was designed to be 50 minutes of comedy followed by 10 minutes of seriousness but in this case that hasn’t quite happened. Rather, we had 60 minutes of stirring rhetoric with some lukewarm laughs in between. As performer it’s clear that Meehan has talent but unfortunately in this instance the comedy fell flat.

James Meehan – Gaz, Just The Tonic at The Caves Rooms, until 26 Aug, 6pm


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