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Stuart Goldsmith: The Reasonable Man

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Nione Meakin

A nice boy from Leamington Spa – a place so dull he fails to muster any childhood memories at all – Stuart Goldsmith explains how he has spent his whole life trying to be unusual.

A failed goth at 14, when he ruined his all-black get-up with bright white trainers, he became a street performer in later life, after a brief, painful stint at circus school 'crying next to Germans in leggings'. Most recently, he's been dabbling in the fetish scene, donning a negligee and high heels to a club, only to be asked if he'd brought his passport 'because you're obviously a tourist'.

However, in this debut show, Goldsmith appears sweetly lacking in any such pretension. Self-deprecating and self-aware, he may paint a picture of a life spent trying (and failing) to run with the cool crowd, but he has a confidence and ease that suggests he's actually quite at ease playing the geek.

Everyone loves a loser, of course, and there are easy laughs to be had in tales of backfiring tricks involving small children, uninvited spanking and bemused attendance at rap gigs.

It helps that Goldsmith looks, by his own admission, like a CBBC presenter. Listening to him enthusing about the wonders of Velcro and his godson's cute attempts at making jokes, it's not hard to imagine how he must have stuck out in the world of heavily-tattooed, fire-breathing, leather-skinned carnies... and that's before you even see his woeful juggling.

He doesn't attempt to distance himself from his past though. He's quite serious about the street performing (discounting human statues, for whom he reserves a special sort of ire) and waxes lyrical about the thrill of starting up an act on a pavement and not quite knowing whether it's going to work out.

It's this refusal to pigeon-hole himself that gives Goldsmith's stand-up a refreshing honesty. He's not the archetypal lovable failure because he's still trying to succeed. He adores functional household items and a nice pair of leather hot pants.

There's nothing arrestingly radical about his comedy – it's made up for the main of neat observation and a winning personality – but there's certainly something original in his lack of posturing and his cheerful inability to fit a certain mould. Here at least, he's succeeded in being genuinely different.

Review date: 8 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Nione Meakin

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