Martha McBrier: Happiness Bully


Material: three-stars.png Delivery: three-stars.png  Laughs: three-stars.png Room: three-stars.png

Martha McBrier is a mad little maverick mistress of mirth. I’ve never seen anything quite like her. The over-riding feeling I got while watching her in action was that of a one-woman Under Milkwood set somewhere in colloquial Glasgow. There were wee twists of audience participation, but most of the show was a one-way dramatic monologue of sorts, which is different from a comedian telling a joke, & its appreciation as an audience member depends very much on our performer’s abilities. Martha has the ability, that’s clear, she’s a bubbly & amenable soul, but what of her ‘drôle matériel’?

Her theme, & title, is an admonishment of the ‘Happiness Bully’, those ‘cheer-up’ pushers of positive emotions who you just want to punch in the face when you’d prefer to be stewing in your own moody juices. While flyering, her target demographic, she tells is, are ‘miserable lookin fuc£ers!’ So asking them to see the show is quite hypocritical really, but I’m just nit-picking there, sorry. She’s very much a mixed bag is Martha, one minute snappily observing Humanity with a wry smile & a cutting line, the next getting a bit lost in the absence of presence during the act of transplanting creativity into our minds. Her routine was, well, routine, but her lilting diction is a pleasure to hear, & the oral mini-documentary about her life is most entertaining. But as comedy? It doesn’t quite get there. Like a pot of rumbledethumps without the hot mustard.

Damian Beeson Bullen


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