Dean Hendry: Smells Like Dean Spirit
- Murray Robertson
- 13 August 2018
Lack of confidence only barrier to a great show
As the only gay member in a family with a strong history of amateur boxing, and having grown up in a deeply homophobic time (the 1980s) in a part of Edinburgh that he describes as a rough neighbourhood, Dean Hendry wears the badge of outsider with a sort of resigned pride. So it's a shame that this loose collection of stories tends to ignore his interesting past in favour of material much more focused on millennial concerns (Uber, Apple, Grindr and Airbnb all occupy the lion's share of Smells Like Dean Spirit).
Perhaps it's because of his awkward upbringing that Hendry is not a confident performer. He occasionally loses his way and has a tendency to mumble his punchlines which is a real shame as they're usually very good. And his self-proclaimed tendency to defuse awkward situations by employing seemingly arbitrary facts has the effect, here, of undermining his momentum.
When he's on a roll, Hendry is very funny indeed. He gets his biggest laughs when embracing his own perceived vulnerabilities, but that needn't be at the expense of his own confidence. With a little more assurance in his material Hendry could go a long way.
Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre, until 26 Aug, 9.45pm, £9–£10 (£7–£8).