Larry Dean FANDAN
Philip Carter Family Auditorium, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, Christchurch
26/01/2018 - 26/01/2018
Bringing his solo show to the World Buskers Festival for one night only!
Larry Dean comes to Christchurch for his New Zealand Debut.
“Storytelling from one of UK comedy’s fiercest new talents.” EdFestMag.com
“A charismatic stand-up natural whose conversational style makes it all look so easy.” Chortle.co.uk
“The audience lap up his cheeky-chappie shtick.” Guardian
“Superb timing… deserves much success.” Mirror
Phillip Carter Family Auditorium at the Christchurch Art Gallery
26 January 2018
Theatre , Stand-up comedy , Solo ,
Holds multiple threads together brilliantly
Review by Tony Ryan 27th Jan 2018
Larry Dean is comedy gold!
His is the last of the World Buskers Festival’s stand-up acts and his combination of thick Glaswegian accent, pale Scottish complexion and wide-eyed, thin-faced, boyish appearance, seems an ideal starting point for this phenomenally gifted performer, who absolutely convulses us with his wit, quirky insights and crackerjack delivery.
With an opening line of (think broad Scottish twang for fullest effect): “I was having a wank in Dubai …” what can possibly go wrong? Well, just about everything from his story-telling perspective, but absolutely nothing from our we-paid-to-laugh point-of-view. And how we laugh!
What can I tell you? There’s no point in retelling his jokes because Dean’s show is such a masterly combination of plot, witty asides, myriad diversions, physical contortions and interrelated references, that only he can deliver it with such staggeringly knife-edge effect.
The best comedians have a way of alluding to a gag from earlier in their act in a way that further raises the comic punch of the moment, but Larry Dean’s ability to interweave (sometimes overtly, sometimes subtly) references to prior material is so dexterous that I have difficulty keeping up. It’s one of those shows that I need to see again to catch up on all the stuff I miss.
Some (although very little) of his material is the same as his slot in Nothing But Stand Up Dudes which is on at the festival’s Laughter Lounge every night and which, presumably, he’ll be heading off to do again later tonight. But here it’s even funnier, and the context and delivery are so different that it’s almost as if I haven’t heard it before.
Too many comedians tell us they’re gay or lesbian just to let us know. But that way of defining themselves is, surely, actually just another form of homophobia; the fact of highlighting it argues against the ‘normality’ of their orientation. Is it Larry Dean or another festival stand-up who talks about “homophobic homosexuals”? To me it’s no less homophobic than a straight performer (or anyone for that matter) announcing their heterosexuality as a fundamental way of defining themselves. The fact that Larry Dean is “a homosexual person” (although who knows what’s fact or fiction in any of these stand-up acts?) emerges right from the start, but the material is so central to the lack of acceptance of homosexuality in some quarters (e.g. Dubai) and to the comic content of his act, that it comes across with hilarious (and therefore totally justified) effect.
The story-telling thread, however innumerable the excursions, holds the structure of the act together brilliantly. The story of his meeting up with an ex-convict whom he hopes has not been imprisoned for ‘homo-cide’, provides endless laugh-out-loud moments.
Of the many acts I’ve seen at the festival or, for that matter, at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe, Larry Dean is definitely among the top three. Unlike several festival shows, I was glad when this act came to an end, so near to actually splitting are my sides!
The festival publicity mentions some of Dean’s achievements and awards. On the evidence of this sold-out solo show, such accomplishments are totally understandable and I hope it won’t be the last time he appears at the Christchurch World Buskers Festival. But more than that, given the doubts that have arisen over funding for the festival in the future, I hope that it will continue. It is such a highlight of the summer calendar and, going by the long, animated queues that I’ve witnessed on a daily basis, an enormously popular event with both locals and visitors.
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