Brighton Fringe 2014
Veteran Brighton performer Terry Garoghan muses on getting old and the foibles and "fun" that comes with it.
Looking confident and assured, Garoghan, warmed his audience up with his gentle chatter and bittersweet musings of age as he approached his 60th Birthday. The relaxed raconteur pondered on prostate problems, poor circulation, fading eyesight, and his obsession with Marks & Spencer’s menswear (hence the show’s titular Johnny Cash pun).
Interspersed amongst these witty observations were a range of revealing songs that focused on the various aspects of the performer’s experiences, from living alone to fractured relationships. Performed adroitly by Garoghan on the acoustic guitar, the songs became a little deeper and more introspective (and better for it) when he was accompanied by the excellent cellist, Angie Wilson.
Garoghan examined his own failings and the follies of his youth and explored at how middle-age had changed him. Yet, despite continually pointing out that he had reinvented himself, there appeared to be little of the “new” Terry. He insisted that he no longer swore in his act, forgetting that he’d previously mentioned his old catchphrase, “Fuck off, Baldy!” – despite the audience constantly reminding him! Perhaps that deafness and/or senility was another subtle aspect of the show?! Many of Garoghan’s aging anecdotes had a tinge of sadness about them, with a veneer of bravado laid on top. My companion came away actually feeling a little depressed, which I’m certain wasn’t the intention! But that’s not to say there weren’t many cracking jokes from the man who is “too old for West Street, too young for Hove.”
More worrying was Garoghan’s very old school approach to women. There was far too much uncomfortable chauvinism thinly disguised as “banter” for this reviewer, and the many cheeky flirtations with female audience members felt inappropriate and slightly sad.
However, I was in the minority, as the rest of the audience seemed to be unperturbed by his unreconstructed musings on women and his relationships with them (far too much time was spent on the joys of Viagra). I found it hard to empathize or relate to many of the experiences Garoghan mentioned, not because of the 15-year age difference, but rather that our world views were so disparate. I was, evidently, not the target audience.
In many ways this is an interesting counterbalance to Lynn Ruth Miller’s show, 80, but from a working class male perspective.
Perhaps it’s true what they say about old dogs… I hope not, because if he really does learn to move with the times the show has the potential to grow and become very charming and engaging indeed. Garoghan looks like he still has plenty more tricks up his sleeve.