In the intimate trappings of The Parlour at Whelans on Wexford Street, I prepared myself for a set with Priscilla Dinan. Once again I had no extensive knowledge of Dinans comedic direction save for the information provided on her flyer. Her set was pitched as being an exploration (and dismissal) of workplace culture. As a recent escapee from the daily grind of 9-5 cubicle work, I was particularly excited at the prospect of an intelligent and satirical look at office life; did the set meet my expectations?
The cosy, strange and refreshingly familiar feel of The Parlour Bar seems like the perfect venue for a comedian to debut their work. The roaring fireplace, warm lighting and delightful, vintage décor lent itself greatly to an atmosphere of ease and accessibility. As Priscilla took to the stage it felt as though I was watching a family member perform in my living room at a family occasion as opposed to a stranger performing a comedy routine.
Throughout the set, Dinan took us on a journey through her employment to date. To begin she reflected on her 80’s childhood and early memories of her parents abusing the goodwill of employers with sick days. In a career which ranged from waitress to production line worker to Tellytubby, she took a funny, honest and relatable look at her working experiences. Highlights of the set included a mock pre-flight safely announcement, a segment on interview tips (how to sabotage yourself) and musings of Christmas parties and illegible faxes
If the above content sounds funny and promising, that’s because it is. It is in delivery that Dinan didn’t quite manage to get her set off the ground. An obvious but understandable nervousness lead Priscilla to revert to using her script sheet for the duration of the set. Whilst she spoke clearly and passionately about her experiences, this approach lead to an unfortunate feeling of disconnection. Jokes which boasted great punch-lines occasionally fell with a resounding thud due to a lack of confidence which did not do justice to the quality of the material.
I don’t want to give the impression that I did not enjoy the show, I really did. The material which Priscilla Dinan delivers here deserves an audience but such material also demands a stronger and more assured delivery. From this point on you can consider me a fan of Priscilla Dinan, and as a fan I can’t wait to see her next with unoccupied hands, head held high and ready to deliver the performance she deserves to give.
If you want to catch Priscilla yourself, you can follow her on Twitter to get all her gig info.