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Scott Agnew: Fringe 2012

Note: This review is from 2012

Review by Alex Mason

Proceedings opened with an audience sexuality survey, straight or gay – bisexuals be damned – as Scott Agnew explained that he gets a better reaction the bigger the ratio of homosexuals   That’s daring honesty to admit to a very mixed crowd.

Honest is a theme of the hour, though as Agnew reveals his experiences in the murky underworld of the gay sauna. At least that's how it's pitched, but this master storyteller takes the edge off, making this more a poignant look at a mysterious subculture than a pervert being shown behind the curtain.

There's crass jokes and boundary-pushing material, but they're delivered in such context they feel more self-satire than unnecessary crudeness. This maybe be filthy but it's not shock-jockery and a lot of the gags have broad appeal.

Most of the show is composed of related anecdotes, though Agnew does briefly delve into his own past without turning it into an ex-boyfriend tell-all. The gags will pass muster with most audiences, but full appreciation of the edgier lines might be limited to the 20-30s gay urban  demographic.

Agnew takes the audience with him every step of the way, gaining huge laughs and applause along the way often with as little as a turn of phrase. The jokes fit like a glove and never feel forced, and Agnew evokes some of the best comic imagery around. A lot of circuit gay material focuses on easy stereotypes but that pitfall was dodged with gymnastic precision. It's insight abound, commenting on real gay issues and feelings while humanising the darker aspects.

No show can be all things to all men and despite being surprisingly accessible considering the subject matter, this show will work best with a gay crowd. Compromises are made with material rather than sacrificing parts of the audience, but an hour set can't hope to explain the back story to every aspect of a lifestyle.

Nonetheless, for a young out-and-proud gay man this is a wet dream come true and truly umissable.

Review date: 16 Aug 2012
Reviewed by: Alex Mason
Reviewed at: Stand 3 and 4

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