Brighton Fringe Review: Dave Fensome, Laughing Horse @ Caroline Of Brunswick (Work In Progress)

Brighton Fringe Review: Dave Fensome, Laughing Horse @ Caroline Of Brunswick (Work In Progress)

Enjoying works in progress has become something of a side quest at the Brighton Fringe over the years, running with a good lead up to the Megaguirus that is the Edinburgh Fringe. Perfect timing to be knocking fresh ideas into show-shape. Which is exactly what Dave Fensome has done here with his follow-up to his 2019 show ADHDave.

The new show – ADHDad – is on its first outing tonight, and amongst the stage asides and broken formatting there are some promising comedy diamonds in the rough. As the title suggests, Fensome has ADHD and is a Dad. He has also recently lost his own father resulting in his mother joining his close family household, some unresolved father-pondering circling on what it means to be a Dad, and thoughts on toxic masculinity.

Fensome is articulate and conjures colourfully, making images pop with a well placed adjective and energetic delivery. These are pockets of ideas, as is the case with most works in progress, making it patchy but giving glimpses of the bare bones of what could be a curious and thought-provoking show. The section where he grapples to separate copulating corgis is the most written and performed, with Fensome pulled around by the small invisible energy-bundles to cartoonish effect. The fantastical and original ‘Windsor Land’ theme park hit the follow-up spot aimed for, missed by a weaker ‘Pizza Express’ topical diversion. That’s what works in progress are all about though – pruning and expanding, trying out ideas and being privy to first outings and incarnations of what works well and what works less well.

Of particular sparkle is Fensome’s material where he is alongside his daughter or his Dad, stand-outs being a list of what his father considers ‘bullshit’ – an embarrassment of punchlines – and an at turns charming and chuckle-worthy Daddy-daughter trip to the public pool.

What clearly stands out in ADHDad is Fensome’s deft talent with language and punchlines. Despite the title of the show his attention never wanes and the energy never dips. A class start to the run of madcap and wildly diverse works in progress in store for the rest of the Brighton Fringe this month.

Also May 4, 24 & 25. Details here. Brighton Fringe runs until June 2.


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