Underbelly Bristo Sq, Edinburgh Festival Fringe
19 August 2022
I have seen Jason Byrne excel at stand-up on numerous occasions previously and you can catch his set 'Unblocked' this Edinburgh Fringe at the McEwan Hall. But this is not stand-up; this is Jason's first play about his recently deceased dad.
It is with some trepidation I sat down for this show. Having lost my own dad just a few years ago I was worried this would be too raw for me. No one needs me bawling in the audience! As it turns out, I was OK until about 10 minutes from the end. More on that later...
In 'Paddy Lama' Jason becomes his dad, Paddy Byrne. The premise is that Paddy is talking to Jason (Jay) from the comfort of his garden shed - the perfect man cave - and he passes comment on everything from how he met his wife, Jason's mum, to his job at the Guinness factory in Dublin and how he managed to be a brilliant parent to Jay and his siblings for so many years.
This is a beautiful tribute to Jason's dad, it is a love letter to a man whom none of us in the audience knew, but who we get to know over the course of an hour.
It's funny and it's sad, but it is wonderfully judged and skilfully played by Byrne. If you have an Irish mammy or daddy in your life you will surely recognise them here in Jason's parents.
Jason plays audio recordings of his mam and sisters reminiscing about Paddy throughout the hour and Paddy always has something to say in return. Usually something sharp and witty!
The play is clever, funny and really touching. We know from the show description that Paddy has recently died, so this is not a spoiler: But it is when the family are holding Paddy's hand in his hospital bed that finally broke me. That's how my dad went too and I couldn't help but draw comparison.
Jason's family must be so proud of him for creating and performing this. Paddy lives on, and more people are meeting him every day. As Paddy says, "You must continue to talk about people after they have died. If you don't, they die again". Quite right.
[First posted on Instagram 22 August 2022]
🌟 A review of Jason Byrne: The Paddy Lama at Underbelly, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2022 (Theatre, Play, Comedy) 🌟
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