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Keith Farnan: Sex Traffic – How Much Is That Woman In The Window?

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Mickey Noonan

Not one to shy away from hefty topics – his previous Edinburgh shows have dealt with the death penalty and racism – Cork stand-up Keith Farnan is this year tackling sexual equality and abuse with his trademark mix of facts, charm, anecdotes and savvy gagsmithery.

Farnan has established himself as a passionate commentator on important issues and society’s value of women is evidently a subject close to his heart. He and his girlfriend have talked about starting a family, but, although he’s up for the commitment, he’s terrified of having a daughter. He’s troubled by the thought of bringing another woman into a world where it’s still difficult for them to have a career and a family – the ‘having it all’ that isn’t even an issue for blokes.

An affable and lively host, Farnan fires out info and tales at an incredible rate, if not always expeditiously. He’s baffled by the sexualisation of little girls, seemingly given the thumb-up by Primark’s push-up bras for seven-year-olds and Tesco’s pole-dancing kit for kids, which is not only a bit weird but gives the impression it’s all a bit of fun, mitigating the horrors of sex-trafficking. His subsequent denunciation of the ‘liberating’ aspects of pole dancing is simply mesmerising.

Mumsnet comes in for a bashing, given that the one election where all the parties were listening to women has resulted in fewer female MPs. The part religion plays in the undermining of women also gets his goat, as does the current popularity of rape jokes. That said, he cracks a great one.

Yet for all his ire-fuelled wit and intelligence, Farnan does insist on dropping the pace a little too much and a little too often, throwing in lines that reinforce stereotypes of men and women and therefore weaken his well-crafted arguments.

This is a niggle rather than show-destroying though, and there’s much to enjoy and loads to make you laugh. Farnan has taken the age-old women are from Venus, men are from Mars line and given it a sharp, funny and very relevant spin.

Review date: 10 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Mickey Noonan

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