New review: Catastrophe
Holly Combe // 24 February 2015
Dawn Kofie finds a refreshing lack of game playing between the characters at the centre of Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney’s Catastrophe
Irish primary school teacher and aspiring writer Sharon Morris (Sharon Horgan) has just fallen pregnant. The father is Rob Norris (Rob Delaney), an American ad executive who Sharon had an enjoyable six-night stand with when he was visiting London on business. And as if that’s not bad enough, Ms Morris has recently been told that she has pre-cancer (cervical dysplasia). A total disaster? Well, maybe.
That’s the unlovely-sounding premise of Channel 4’s new comedy Catastrophe, written by its stars Horgan and Delaney. Horgan’s an Irish actor, writer and comedian who is probably best known for Pulling, the BAFTA-nominated sitcom about the unseemly side of singledom, which she co-wrote and starred in. Delaney is from the US and shares Horgan’s job titles. He made his name by cranking out a spate of often surreal and usually rude jokes on Twitter and now has over a million followers.
The duo’s joint offering focuses on the main characters getting to know each other and trying to build a relationship before their baby son makes an appearance. In the early days of their courtship, Sharon complains that being thrown together in the way they have means their story lacks romance and decorum, making it like something you’d read in Chat magazine. But, considering that they’ve only known each other a few weeks, what Sharon and Rob have together is pretty good. It’s heartening to see an on-screen relationship where both parties trust one another, are open about how they’re feeling and are secure enough to relish being outrageously cheeky to one another.
The couple don’t have hidden agendas or indulge in tedious game playing either. Sharon’s pregnancy is an accident. There’s no hint that it’s the result of her rapid desire to reproduce or that it’s all been part of a plan to ensnare an unsuspecting Rob into commitment and unplanned fatherhood…
Sharon (left) and Rob (right) sit forward on a beige sofa looking nervous. Sharon wears an orange, black, yellow and white cardigan, a black dress with silver (possible horse) figures and black tights, while Rob wears a light blue/grey shirt, navy trousers and a silver watch. Picture supplied by Channel 4 images and used under fair dealing, in connection with the current broadcast of the programme featured in the national and local press and listings. Publicist: Lis Clucas. Photographer: Ed Miller.