Ryan Cull: Brace Yourself
A personal yet universal show that doesn't quite contain enough resonance
This article is from 2016.
Undergoing childhood adversity is a gift for comedians and Ryan Cull is not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, turning the two childhood years he spent wearing leg braces into the framework for his Fringe hour. Drawing the inevitable comparison with Forrest Gump, the Canadian émigré talks us through the physical and psychological ramifications of having a visible 'difference', covering both the drawbacks and unexpected perks of his situation. Incorporating bears, ice hockey and maple syrup, he manages to make the most of his Canadian charm without milking it.
While some stand-ups stray far and wide from their ostensible theme, Cull takes care to weave a consistent narrative and is most successful when presenting his considered, personal tale. The quality takes a dip when he digresses into some generic material on social media and this year's obligatory crack about Pokémon Go, which creates an unevenness that threatens to undermine the show's remainder.
Though discussing a very personal event in his life, Brace Yourself's theme of not fitting in is something universally felt. By acknowledging this, Cull could broaden his reach and allow the hour to carry an emotional resonance of which it is capable.
Gilded Balloon Teviot, until 28 Aug (not 15), 2pm, £9–£10.