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Mick Ferry: The Missing Chippendale (Body Issues)

Note: This review is from 2010

Review by Steve Bennett

The Chippendales are used to driving women mad… but at last year’s Fringe they had the same effect on stand-up Mick Ferry.

When he was performing his show, night after night, only one, inadequate wall separated him from the pumping music and ecstatic screams of the strip troupe next door. He grew to hate the intrusion ruining his performance and vowed revenge this time around.

Thus the battle lines are drawn for the fit, well-oiled dancers with the bodies of Greek gods, and the out-of-shape pie-loving Northern comic, who couldn’t join a gym because he was deemed unfit. You might see exactly where this is going, but it turns out those lines are sneakier than you think – because Ferry, too, is not what you expect.

Sure, a few jokes about his ample frame are there, as you might expect from a fat bloke who poses topless on his poster, and he takes a few swipes at the chavvy fashion choices of the Chippendales audience. But then he goes deeper, revealing the sadness of how the fat jokes can sting, and of people not able to do things they like because they are overweight.

But lest you think this turn will make for too heavy a show (no pun intended), Ferry navigates the course of maximum laughs, skillfully blending the sort of comedy with a message so beloved by middle-class Fringe audiences with the blunt Northern bluster that would go down well in any working-class club. There’s no better way to illustrate this winning two-pronged approach than by the fact that he manages to make a pork pie poignant. What a perfect combination of high and low comedy, which he only really blows when he does his own Chippendales routine to end the show..

Elsewhere, Ferry talks about his own battle to lose weight for the sake of his health (a good 19lbs lost in a year but with plenty still to go), the time he encountered one of his Chippendale nemeses in a pub, and the seedier side of the male stripping world that those entertainers never touch. He’s also crowdsourced a few good lines, by simply repeating what responses he got to talking about weight issues.

This ex-upholsterer has certainly got this subject well-covered (sorry) in an upbeat show that’s impossible not to enjoy.

Review date: 19 Aug 2010
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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