Normally Abnormal (3 stars)

This article is from 2015

Normally Abnormal

Offering barbs and insight into the largely hidden topic of anorexia

They say it’s not what you say but how you say it and Dave Chawner is the embodiment of this truism. His stand-up is unabashedly formed around his ongoing relationship with anorexia. As an ambassador for various eating disorder and mental health charities, it would be easy for his show to come across as a thinly veiled after-school special. Chawner’s way to avoid this is to make fun of himself as much as possible.

Unfortunately, amid all the self-deprecation, he ends up deprecating a lot more. Vegetarianism comes in for a harsh attack, though the barbs aimed its way are rather tired and anaemic, and while Chawner has great confidence and energy, it’s difficult at times to connect to him, despite the personal nature of the material.

When Chawner really shines, though, is when he drops the defensive bravado and allows himself to be vulnerable. The best and most effective moments are when he (seemingly) goes off-script to talk about a recent break-up. Clearly this is a capable comic who is able to hold a room with his personality, but it would be nice if he let the words do more of the talking. In the meantime, Chawner offers eye-opening insight into an under-reported issue.

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Normally Abnormal

  • 3 stars

Dave Chawner / Free Festival Award-winning stand-up Dave Chawner takes a hilarious look at identity, recovery and life after eating disorders. 'Makes you laugh as well as think' ( 'Sharp, insightful, touching, but above all really, really funny' (ThreeWeeks). As seen on BBC, ITV and Channel 4. Age…