Sharon Mahoney in ‘The Last Steel Body’ [FringeTIX]
Sharon Mahoney @ The Pod
11:00pm, Fri 20 Feb 2009
There’s party hats and blowouts on the chairs in The Pod, and the latter are enthusiastically (and annoyingly) used to full effect as Sharon Mahoney blasts in, a bundle of party-going positivity. She does laps of the audience, whooping up the enthusiasm of the largely sozzled crowd before taking the mike – and almost completely killing the mood.
See, maybe it’s just me, but following the high-energy start (complete with fancypants dancing to Celebration), then following it up with affectionate but not-especially-amusing tales of your 99-year-old grandmother? That sounds like the dictionary definition of buzzkill. But that “progression” typifies the vast majority of Mahoney’s show; she works hard to get some moments of minor mirth into her story, then pisses it all away with overly sentimental reflections or – worse! – preachings.
Sure, there were funny bits, highlights being her “recollection” of her Dad’s AA meeting (which sadly descended into a pointless and painful opportunity to sing a bit of Celine Dion) and a bit about her anal deflowering during her Crohn’s Disease examination – which, due to the fact that she was 15 at the time, led to an uncomfortable ickiness when chuckling. And that story died in the arse too, if you’ll pardon the expression; it petered out into a damp squib, directionless and unsure of itself, a stand-alone half-gag in a set lacking any real structure.
With a closing punchline that telegraphed itself ten minutes out, followed by a terribly indulgent movie of her grandmother (and slideshow featuring her Dad), there’s an uncomfortable end to the show; it’s obviously very personal, but we’re never really given the chance to connect with the characters at all, such is the uneven material we’re given. The fact that Mahoney had a mostly drunk crowd, a handful of walk-outs, and a cluster in the audience whose constant chatter clearly threw her off her game, leads me to believe she’s really not going to do well in her timeslot; maybe the 7pm slot would be better than the late-nite. Then again, why bother at all? A lack of decent laughs, mixed with an excessive measure of maudlin, makes this show one of the least enjoyable “comedy” shows I’ve seen in years.