Larry Dean: Out Now! | Review by Steve Bennett
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Larry Dean: Out Now!

Note: This review is from 2015

Review by Steve Bennett

It took Larry Dean until he was 23 to come out to his parents – long after he revealed his sexuality on stage at his first, bruising comedy gig. Yet when he tells a liberal Fringe audience he’s gay, it’s greeted with complete indifference. No one, quite rightly, gives much of a care.

That might be an issue for someone who’s built their debut hour around the very topic of his sexuality, and in particular the fact he doesn’t fit any stereotypes of being camp. Yet Dean’s real strength is his easy-going manner and innate anecdotal skills, so an hour in his presence ensures a good time, whatever the topic of those stories.

His natural, no-nonsense affability is obvious even before the show starts as he greets all his guests and points them to their seats, demonstrating an ease with the crowd that persists through the whole show. The last Glaswegian to be so at home on stage was Kevin Bridges, and Dean could very likely follow in his footsteps into the big venues, his ‘best newcomer’ nod the first stride on that path.

We shouldn’t really be imposing out heteronormative terminology on Dean by calling him ‘gay’, but instead, in the name of political correctness, we should use the chosen nomenclature with which he self-identifies. So ‘bender’ it is. And you can see why he loves it, it’s a lot sillier, and he’s never one to take anything too seriously.

Dating via Grinder, his embarrassingly clumsy attempt at heterosexual sex, a brush with homophobes (or ‘gaycists’ as he calls them, again choosing the dafter slang), and his parents’ brilliant reaction to that coming-out all feature; while not being camp does not make immune from he odd double entendre.

This all serves as introduction to who he is – but it is not all he is; for he has strong storytelling chops whatever the yarn, as proved by the anecdote about attending the wedding of his brother, a former Catholic priest, that's rich with family characters and amusing commentary. The Nigerian flatmate who provides something of a through line, is a less well-developed personality, however.

But probably the biggest surprise comes when his usual Glasgow brogue slips away and he becomes a twattish South East London estate agent, nailing the accent completely. It’s moments like this that there should be even more strings to his bow, beyond this easily entertaining introductory hour.

Review date: 27 Aug 2015
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Pleasance Courtyard

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