Verdict: Feelgood comedy without saccharin

Tiernan Douieb (the name is Irish and French Tunisian) springs onto the stage with all the confidence of a seasoned performer sure of his material – and he doesn’t disappoint. He says that the show’s title and the inspiration for the act is prompted by his recent 28th birthday which poses the question of his maturity and readiness for adult life. After musing on rites of passage and being a child in a man’s body, the point is driven home with a chuckleliously juvenile look at some picture cards playing on the word ‘mature’.

When the last card reveals the image of 80’s pop star Midge Ure, few members of the audience manage to keep a straight face.

Claiming to be the same height as the average British woman, Tiernan Douieb’s slightly self-deprecating humour is witty in a warm cuddly way. Material jumps from Sony Walkmans and Star Trek to Zombies and the 27 Club – which sadly he is not able to join, having failed to achieve fame by that age and more importantly still being alive. He shows a glass-is-half full view of the world as he shares feelings of inadequacy and love for his girlfriend, followed by embarrassing tales about his family.

Silly playground humour is swiftly and skilfully wrapped around more serious topics such as racism and his life as an insulin-dependent diabetic. Tiernan Douieb’s comedy is feelgood without saccharin, achieving that rare but effective illusion of being a mate. Material is aimed at 20s to 30s, but is broadly accessible and delivered with a winning easy charm.

© Diana Thomas 2009
reviewed Sunday 9 August 2009 / Underbelly, Edinburgh