Review: Edan McGovern ‘Ritalin Princess’ at the Factory Theatre

Review by Miranda Michalowski


Edan McGovern is a talented up-and-comer on the Sydney comedy scene, so I was so excited to catch the second night of her debut solo show ‘Ritalin Princess’ at the Fringe Festival - and it didn’t disappoint.


I caught this sold-out show at the ‘Warehouse’; a narrow, intimate performance space inside Marrickville’s factory theatre. One of my favourite things about seeing Fringe shows is that you get to witness great performers take a cramped, tiny space (sometimes just the inside of a shipping container) and fill it with energy and laughter. McGovern achieves this, as does her opening act, Freddie McManus - whose own solo show is playing at Fringe from the 28th-30th of September. McManus was a charming addition to the show, with a stage presence reminiscent of James Acaster. In McGovern’s words - “People keep asking why I invited my ex-boyfriend to open for me. That’s why - he’s good!”


McGovern is also undeniably likeable, performing with frenetic, infectious energy. While some of the material was a bit newer, and occasional lines got lost, the show delivered a heap of laughs.


The title, Ritalin Princess, comes from the name of an ADHD medication - a topic McGovern touches on in her set. But along with discussing mental health, she also delves into queer identity, why she’s allowed to hate Bindi Irwin, and the experience of growing up in housing commission and then moving to an apartment in Mosman (according to McGovern, she really lost her claim on the whole ‘underdog’ thing). But the set’s golden thread lies in her discussion of her father's death, and her experience growing up with a parent who struggled with addiction.


In her routine, McGovern touches on her first queer crush, why she's the Marie Antoinette of Newtown (hint: it has to do with dexamphetamine), and the time when her mother mistook her kazoo for a crack pipe.


One of my favourite bits was McGovern’s story about her father teaching her that the game ‘Marco Polo’ was actually ‘Marco Bipolar’. All of the comedian's anecdotes about her father were both touching and entertaining, painting a portrait of a funny, kind and devoted man. Those who suffer from addiction are often depicted in an unsympathetic light, but McGovern's set humanised her father without shying away from the reality of growing up with an addicted parent.


My only critique of the show is that I wished it had been longer. ‘Ritalin Princess’ only went for about 30 minutes, which didn’t quite give McGovern the chance to flesh out different topics and give the show a wholly satisfying arc. But this is just the beginning for this talented comedian, and I can tell that there are big things on the horizon.

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