Conor Clarke McGrath: Stalagmite

Sat 4th – Sun 19th August 2018


Rowan Evans

at 09:34 on 16th Aug 2018



One of the most important things in a stand-up routine is the mic. The mic is the source of the entertainment. Everything that comes out of the comedian’s mouth will go through the mic. Maybe you don’t want to use a mic. That’s okay! But in a loud comedy club, or a pub – the mic is everything.

If Conor Clarke McGrath had followed this, the production value of this show would have improved tenfold. Yet I was left distracted and disoriented. The mic was flung around, never staying in the same place for more than ten seconds, often obscuring what McGrath was saying.

The opening of ‘Stalagmite’ showed a degree of promise. His story of young love involving a dead mouse seemed to be leading somewhere but the following stories left me unconvinced. A too long passage of reading emails? A tale of an Octopus wife? Something to do with a cave?

Mcgrath has a commanding presence, but this presence was spent by his erratic movements. The direction in this case from Bradley showed no restraint. The amount of times he climbed onto the chair or flung the mic down in agony removed any power those actions held.

Once Mcgrath left the realm of reality things got confusing. The jokes were random and out of place. I struggled to see where a lot of the material was coming from and how it interlocked. Tales flowed into each other, but I was never sure how until it was too late.

I am sure that under the surface of this performance a good show could be found. Members of the audience had a great time and McGrath’s enthusiasm earned this. However, I do believe that there are many glaring problems that cannot be ignored.

I would like to see what McGrath has in store for the future, because I do believe there was potential in his work. But this time around, that potential was misaligned.


Verity Kim

at 09:35 on 16th Aug 2018



Conor Clarke McGrath’s solo debut show 'Stalagmite' is a performance that combines theatrical elements with stand-up comedy in a refreshing way. However, while McGrath’s kooky comedic persona is irrefutably fascinating, the show does not seem to do his personal talents full justice.

‘Stalagmite’ has a strong opening, with McGrath recounting the tale of the two great loves of his life: a girl and a rat, not necessarily in that order. His unnervingly eager schoolboy earnestness meshes incredibly well with this childhood memory. His comedic persona embodies an awkward adolescent energy that is instantly recognizable and entirely relatable, and his mannerisms communicate this instantly. He looks down at the floor when he speaks, and his body is sustained in movements of perpetual awkwardness, making for some instant physical comedy.

‘Stalagmite’ revolves around the absurdly false situations described by Conor Clarke McGrath at almost devastating lengths, and his emotional involvement in these nonsensical stories are the main comedic factor of the performance. He tells stories about his underwater romance with an octopus, his quest to find the whereabouts of a paranormal podcaster – the stories are original and refreshingly unique.

However, I felt that ‘Stalagmite’ suffers from a lack of editing. Throughout the show it relies on specific repeated points of humor, and the repetitive nature of the material makes the comedy lose its momentum. One of the punch lines, ‘None of this really happened,’ while funny the first few times, quickly lends to predictability, detracting from the overall wit of the performance. The show would have benefited from a faster pace, as I often found myself sitting in awkward moments of silence.

‘Stalagmite’ provides an interesting outlook into the comedic world of Conor Clarke McGrath, and what he misses in material, he makes up for with his personal charm. I would recommend this to people who are interested in the absurdly humorous, or the incredibly niche subgenre of aquatic romance.


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