Review: Kathleen Madigan: The Mermaid Lady Tour at the Lyric Opera House

Prolific comedian and TV personality Kathleen Madigan brought her new The Mermaid Lady standup tour to Baltimore Saturday night at the Lyric Opera House, featuring a fresh medley of her favorite material from the past two decades of touring topped with her time-honored, off-the-cuff Midwest charm.

Opener Vic Henley revved up the show with a sharp-witted, often sidesplitting 30 minutes focused mainly on being a Southerner with his lustrous, yet simultaneously, comical accent, highlighting his mother’s similarity to comfort food celebrity chef/TV personality Paula Deen, underscored with an utterly winning chronicle about how, as a teenager, he tormented his racist grandfather by having his black schoolmates hug the “N” word out of him.

Madigan. Photo courtesy of The Lyric Opera.
Kathleen Madigan. Photo courtesy of The Lyric Opera House.

Once Henley aptly warmed up the audience and headed off stage, Madigan immediately leaped front and center, sporting her signature staples (blue denims and black blazer), ready to discuss the latest and greatest of her customary ground topics – ranging from the inanities of her cross-country travel (she particularly loves going to visit her brother in Arizona) to the pitfalls of living in a large Irish Catholic family (as one of seven kids), rotating to the general absurdities of politics (Bernie, Hillary and The Donald are each preeminently mentioned) and pop culture (drinking wine for 2.5 miles on Fit Bit while watching Naked and Afraid and House Hunters anyone?).

Throughout her 60-minute performance, Madigan acutely shined whenever she recounted childhood tales of how she was raised, going to Catholic school (told by the nuns not to bother God unless she went through the laundry list of angels and saints first) and being chastised in announcement fashion by her mother who she often recalls and imitates as being perpetually tipsy, having a cocktail in one hand and a cigarette in the other, ending each admonishment with “so help me, God”, whenever she thought she was addressing her and her other six siblings from the porch, as they, unbeknownst to her, were playing in the basement, rather than the front yard.

Sensibly straightforward, sassy and sharp, seeing Kathleen Madigan is like meeting up with a flippantly funny friend who sees the humor in everyday events and can make mundane happenings sound hilarious.  Whether she is shopping for jeans at Macy’s in LA while attended by a clueless millennial (who in her case did not realize that Missouri was a state) or watching CNN wondering why the medical expert is bothering to explain that processed meat is lethal to adult, mostly middle-aged, viewers like her when she is fairly certain she has already eaten about 355 pigs (or, as she puts it, “a farm”), Madigan excels at personally connecting with her audience on a brazenly witty and refreshingly real level that works.

Running Time: Approximately 90 minutes, with no intermission.


Kathleen Madigan performed for one night only on Saturday, September 17, 2016 at The Lyric Opera House – 140 W. Mount Royale Avenue in Baltimore, MD.  For tickets to all events at The Lyric, purchase them online.


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