Comedy Review: Sarah Keyworth: Pacific Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33), Edinburgh

At a time when most male comedians are doing their best to distance themselves from toxic masculinity, Sarah Keyworth continues to be seduced by the idea of being a big, strong, emotionally repressed boy.

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That’s because, as someone who only belatedly found her sexuality, she’s always really struggled with her identity.

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With her attractiveness apparently linked to the length of her hair, she evokes some memorable visual imagery of the consequences of her new, boyish cut.

As the beer-drinking footballer in her lesbian relationship, she’s ostensibly the “husband”.

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And though she’s more like her father than her mother, it’s only inasmuch as she’s the indulged, house-trained one rather than the strong-willed partner who knows her own mind.

Keyworth makes some compelling points about culturally prescribed gender roles, homophobia, transphobia and emotional and physical strength. And there’s a salutary lesson in identifying sexual harassment, even when it cloaks itself in an apparently unlikely form.

Moreover, for all her avowed uncertainty and naivety, she’s hilarious with a filthy quip when the opportunity presents, indiscreet when she appreciates that she’s got a tremendous, loving anecdote about her mother’s breast cancer.

At the vanguard of society’s rapidly shifting gender revolution, a small woman who remains hopelessly committed to the idea that she’s a big, unreconstructed man, Keyworth is a thoughtful, sensitive but instinctively self-mocking guide.

Exceeding the promise of last year’s best newcomer nominated debut, who’s a big boy now then?

Until 25 August. Today 5:45pm

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