reviews and recommendations

Catherine Bohart: Immaculate

2016 Funny Women Awards finalist Catherine Bohart has quite the backstory, frankly it’s got Fringe show written all over it. The bisexual, OCD daughter of an Irish Catholic deacon, the subject of Catherine’s debut hour probably didn’t take too long to narrow down.

Having opened with her list of what I suppose a comedy agent or editor might call her USPs, Catherine starts with her OCD, one of the many mental health issues people seem to think they know all about but are actually startlingly ignorant of. For instance, there are different types of OCD and Catherine’s is called Perfectionism. You might think that would simply make for a neat room and great organisational skills growing up, but Catherine ended up being hospitalised and participating in group therapy to treat her OCD.

Immaculate manages to consider the minuscule and the macro, this structure echoes the argument her father made for becoming a deacon in the Catholic Church – an institution that has been problematic to say the least – change can begin with one person,  in this instance Catherine changes her family’s attitudes towards mental health and the LGBTQ community.

From discussing her mother’s difficulty explaining away her prolonged absence to her father’s response upon her return to the family home and her bisexuality; Catherine sheds light on the culture in Ireland before demonstrating how a more progressive society is emerging with recent political moves such as the vote to repeal the eighth and equal marriage.

Catherine’s comedy writing seems meticulous, sometimes this can make for a staid show but the Irish comedian mixes it up with plenty of skilled crowd work and studied charm. There is no doubt this audience is very taken with Catherine. In fact, there is a very exact balance to this show, for every tear-jerking moment, there’s a gag to lighten the mood.

Considering the subjects addressed, this debut could have seemed exploitative, worthy or even lazy, but Catherine has honed a thoughtful, funny hour that promises greater things are to come for this comedian.

★★★★

Catch an excerpt at Funny Women On The Fringe at 19:20 at the Blue Room, Assembly Rooms 21st August. For tickets and more information click here!

Catherine Bohart: Immaculate is at the Pleasance Courtyard, Bunker Two at 19:00 until 24th August. For tickets and more information click here!

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