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Chris Dangerfield: Sex Tourist
Published on Friday, 10 August 2012
5

5 stars

Alternative Fringe @ The Hive (venue website)
Comedy
6-26 Aug, 5:45pm-6:35pm
Reviewed by Mathilda Gregory

 Recommended for age 18+ only. Venue may not permit under-18's - check with venue before booking.

Chris Dangerfield is going places, in a couple of senses. He’s apparently a regular traveller to the Far East, for nefarious reasons that he’s happy to confess on stage, but he’s also very clearly en route to becoming a big comedy name. He’s got the goods: effortless presence, superb physicality, and a gleeful commitment to risk-taking – which all combine, along with some nice confessional writing, to produce a satisfyingly complex hour-long show.

Dangerfield stands out immediately because his subject matter is taboo and extreme, but there’s a lot more to it than that.  Crucially, what makes him distinct from other debut comics at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe, who could also be described with a paragraph much like the one above, is the thought behind it all.

Taboo-busting alone isn’t that original. Especially not when it’s done in a sniggering schoolboy kind of way, not when it’s just for the sake of attention and not when it’s a tiresome rebellion against some strawman of political correctness.   But none of these are Dangerfield’s shtick. He’s outrageous because he has something to say about the grotesque horrors that can result from the tireless pursuit of life’s pleasures.  And, though he’s remorseful, this isn’t exactly a cautionary tale. With every shudder and wince that his show evokes, he’s actually imparting a fascinating glimpse into his seedy corner of the world.

A small wobble comes towards the end of the show. It’s hard to say, actually, how such a debauched hour could end and not be an anti climax, but the closing of Dangerfield’s tale of the ultimate Holiday from Hell is the only part of the show where his confidence fails. Disappointingly, his story simply judders to a halt at the end of an airport’s moving walkway. This melancholic trailing off is perhaps an experimental reach to far, and it feels as if an emotional beat is left hanging.

Nevertheless it’s a small blip in Dangerfield’s all-conquering clash of ego and touching vulnerability. It’s great to see how much he’s stretched himself for the show (literally, if one of his set pieces is to be believed). With material now to match his moustache-twirling charisma, he’s got something truly original to say, and a distinct panache in the way he says it.

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These are archived reviews of shows from Edinburgh 2012.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

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