Megan Gogerty pauses for the same amount of time between each joke. Her routine has a very rigid structure – comment, joke, pause, repeat. It’s too prescriptive to allow the laughs to settle in and is off-putting. Lady Macbeth and Her Pal, Megan is a commentary on the plight of one of Shakespeare’s most revered women and the desire for her to receive the recognition she deserves. Gogerty is spot on with her analysis, but off the mark with her comedic interpretation.
Comedy is at its best when it feels natural, when it has the space to breathe and take on an organic, individual nature of its own. Each comedy gig should feel completely distinct, based on the atmosphere in the room and the confidence with which the comedian can play about with the material. Gogerty performs a well-rehearsed routine, but everything feels stiff. There is no deviation and no variation in dynamic, pace or delivery. It’s also over-egged – every character is a caricature of themselves. Even Gogerty herself seems to ham up her personality, her nuance and the extent of her wacky sense of self.
The story touches on various points in Gogerty’s life and there are some lovely hints at progressive attitudes – a tongue in cheek interpretation of anti-feminist tendencies and a rant about the chauvinist misogyny inherent in old-school stand-up comedy clubs. Here Gogerty seems to relax and there is beauty in the imperfections with this material. She compares the rush of performing to Lady Macbeth – simultaneously empowering (hear my words) and disempowering (look at my body) that strikes a chord in its ingenious contradiction. But then she draws poor comparisons between their respective existences – what to wear at a gig and questioning your own ability is not of similar magnitude to descending into madness after inciting murder as part of a sinister ploy for power. This all feels a bit too ‘woe is me’, tenuous at best.
The culmination of Lady Macbeth and Her Pal, Megan is that Gogerty doesn’t want to be the Lady herself, but simply empathises with her position. Comedy is not just about having the sexy, sinister, powerful attitude of Lady Macbeth, it’s about being able to experience the joy in laughter. But Gogerty launches into an amateur conveyance of emotion at this part, a cartoon version of angry, evil and crazy. The lack of subtlety in this whole routine works against it – for Lady Macbeth is nothing if not a master of emotional manipulation.
Lady Macbeth And Her Pal, Megan plays C Venues as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2017 until 28 August 2017. For more information or to book tickets, please visit the website.