Review | Larry Dean defeats the stand-up cynic with Fandan

Larry Dean – Fandan | The Gold Digger | til Feb 18th | ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

I was recently told that you can almost always tell a show is going to be bad by the promotional images. Apparently the rule of thumb is that if it features somebody needlessly pulling an awkward face, or their body contorted pointlessly, then it’s probably not worth seeing. I’m glad to say that, despite Larry Dean’s almost otherworldly body contortion skills, he’s either the exception that proves the rule, or it’s just a stupid rule.

From the very opening line the audience is served up an hour of almost non-stop laughs as Dean explores what it’s like to be a gay man in today’s world. Using a lunch with a murderer as the central plot point, Dean introduces a number of wildly hilarious stories that seem entirely unrelated. However, his skill lies in his ability to weave them all back together, his self-referential humour a clue that we shouldn’t forget them quickly, nor does he let us.

What struck me about the show was ultimately how Dean managed to make some entirely un-relatable situations speak to the core of ‘the gay experience’. Moving from the banal to the serious, I found myself laughing and nodding in agreement at his observations, whether they were about dating, gay stereotypes or experiences of homophobia. This isn’t the sort of show that lets you leave without considering some of the wider issues in society. But it’s also not the sort of show that leaves you feeling burdened.

Dean is frenetic, he’s sweary, he’s crude. His energy on stage is palpable, his animation adding to his already impressive comedic abilities. The show is raw and honest, there’s no hiding from the truths of our world as he tackles issues head on, and hilariously so. I’ve always been wary of stand-up comedians, not because they’ve done me some great wrong, I just think they’re mostly not funny. However, Larry Dean upended all of this with Fandan. This is definitely worth seeing.

Larry Dean will be at Fringe World Festival until February 18th. Tickets and more info available from

Craig Campbell

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