Reviews: Tommy Tiernan
Tommy Tiernan Vicar St, Dublin
AS THE capital grinds to a halt in the so-called 'snowpoclypse', Tommy Tiernan praises a full house of fans for being the most determined people in the country.
"I wonder how many of you didn't go to work today," he playfully ponders.
It soon becomes clear that it has been more than worth the effort, as Tiernan's latest show is a revelation and the best thing he's done in years.
Just to get the obvious elephant in the room out of the way, there isn't anything that could be construed as deeply offensive to any race, religion or persuasion. This isn't to say that Tiernan has mellowed. He's savagely, wickedly funny and the joke is on all of us.
The most interesting, and somewhat daring, aspect of this new show entitled 'Crooked Man' is that Tiernan performs a lot of it in the dark.
From the unlit fringes of the stage, he pours scorn on the spotlight in the centre and the tyranny of rationality. He segues this into a devastatingly brilliant routine on the IMF and what he'd do to show them the real Ireland.
The underlying theme of 'Crooked Man' is embracing all the nebulous darkness, imperfection and difficulty of life. It's bold, ambitious and brilliant, taking in snippets of Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits and the perils of bringing his seven-year-old daughter to the away end at Stamford Bridge.
Tiernan now knows how to perfectly pace a performance, and the rather tired technique of shouting manically has matured.
Tellingly, a brilliant and life-affirming encore is performed in a low whisper.
At this stage of his game, Tiernan could well have a crack at the likes of the O2, as this show resumes for yet another marathon run in January and holds court in his native Galway all next week, but it's much more pleasing to still enjoy him in such intimate environs.
At the end of 'Crooked Man', Tommy Tiernan actually makes you proud to be Irish, leaving you with a relaxed perspective on the recent national trauma and comfortable in your own skin.
Now, that's something I certainly wasn't expecting to say.