While at once heartfelt, personal, and timid, British comedian Dave Chawner was also crude and self-deprecating as he delivered his show, centred around his own circumcision.
He tore apart the issues of male expectations and masculinity with humour, while also considering their effect on mental health. He was open about his own inner experiences, as well as being comfortably ambiguous about his sexuality and gender expression.
He accomplished this, not only without making the atmosphere uncomfortable, but while also gently making us aware of taboo facts at a particularly rowdy and laddish venue.
He should be, and indeed was, applauded for his frankness and the ingenuity with which he pulled off the routine. A consummate professional – exhibiting a mainstream approach, which wouldn't look out of place among the oligopoly of big comedic names we have on our screens.
Chawner offers himself up as part of the fight to reassess what it means to be a 'man'.
A regimented routine of originality, flare, flawless comic timing, and improvisation skills. Circumcision offers up a tricky subject matter, and Chawner is a breath of fresh air, for he deals with his own truths in a way too few comedians are brave enough to do these days.
Couldn't be more perfect for the Brighton crowd.
* * * * *
Circumcision (18+) by Dave Chawner at The Hobgoblin is showing 20-21 May, and 3-4 June. See full details here.