Dave Fensome @ Laughing Horse, City Cafe

Dave Fensome’s debut Fringe hour tells the tale of how his life has been reframed following a traumatic event and an ADHD diagnosis

Review by Thomas Hamill | 07 Aug 2019
  • Dave Fensome @ Laughing Horse, City Cafe

Fensome opens with a content warning due to the subject matter of his show. Strange then, that he keeps it comparatively light to start: some bits of autobiographical material on life through his thirties and the troubles that it’s brought, such as his high cholesterol because of nostalgic comfort-eating at McDonalds. But darkness is yet to come.

Already on an uneven footing with gags landing only half the time, some lines have Fensome jeering at a lack of reaction, which doesn’t endear him to the audience. Some material seems ripe for cutting or being replaced too, though that might be put down to this visit early in the run. 

Fensome’s biggest laughs come from berating David Attenborough for being so environmentally proactive in the lead up to his inevitable death (why couldn’t he be more like Prince?) and he is at his most engaging when worked up and taking aim. The rest of the time it feels like Fensome revels in tacking inappropriate punchlines onto quite formulaic jokes. These could elicit a much stronger audience reaction if they were deeper-rooted in Fensome’s personal experiences or built up throughout the show by use of clever callbacks and references.

The hour’s dark turn and half-reveal that Fensome has a late ADHD diagnosis re-lenses some of the early material well, but there are plenty of options to push his punchlines further. However, earlier sections and self-deprecating jokes would be interesting to re-explore and make sense of post-reveal.

Dave Fensome: ADHDave, Laughing Horse @ City Cafe (Hollywood Room), until 25th Aug, 5.50pm, Free/PWYW