Sam See: Coming Out Loud | Edinburgh Fringe review by Steve Bennett
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Sam See: Coming Out Loud

Edinburgh Fringe review by Steve Bennett

Edgelord comedians take note. One of the biggest risk-takers on the Fringe is a small, smiley Singaporean man with a genial manner and dressed in a colourful bow-tie and waistcoat.

Because where he’s from, Sam See’s very existence is illegal, with same-sex activities punishable by up to two years in prison. And the system for compulsory military service is like Carry On Kafka, with officials having to rank gay recruits on a scale of effeminacy. See only has to explain this ridiculous state of affairs to get a laugh.

If that wasn’t challenging enough, See has even performed in even stricter regimes, using subterfuge to gig in front of the most unlikely of audiences in the most unlikely of places, and again his stories are fascinating.

But he depends on telling us on what happened at other shows when the stakes weren’t so high. The time the promoter sold him out to the government officials is interesting; the time he insulted a big Indian guy in the front row with a ‘your mum’ joke isn’t, nor the odd open mic night he did, nor the charity fundraiser where he had to follow an more earnest act. From this, you’d conclude that doing gigs is almost the only experience he has worth talking about, which seems like a narrow focus.

Also the exaggerated tale of being told he couldn’t open with ‘ladies and gentlemen’ because it was too reductive for the spectrum of genders quickly descends into a clichéd parody on political correctness.

Yet on the trials and tribulations of his sexuality and Singaporean censorship, he is always strong. And whatever he is speaking about, he’s always super-charming and buzzing with friendly energy, making him an adorable and warm performer. He’s so keen to ensure we have a good time, he even offers practical help for those sweltering in the heat trap of the Counting House attic. But there’s also some steel to him, as performing in those LGBT-unfriendly nations prove.

However, his content still seems a little rough around the edges, despite being experienced enough to have hosted a short-lived TV show back home. 

Even something as simple as the bucket speech asking for donations goes awry with the most convoluted and momentum-sapping explanation of his QR code, the apps that scan it, and how the PayPal page that it sends you to will work. 

Mate, just get a card reader like everyone else. Because people will be happy to pay to spend an hour in such charming company.

Review date: 15 Aug 2019
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Laughing Horse @ The Counting House

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