Sean Patton: Contradickhead, Gilded Balloon Teviot, Edinburgh * * * *
If ever there were an affliction to wish on a stand-up, it's Sean Patton's sleep apnoea. The Louisiana native's restlessness was doubtless a big factor in him getting into trouble growing up. But not only has it directly inspired an engaging routine about the equipment he uses to suppress the snoring condition and the reasons why you shouldn't elbow him awake. But since he recovered his capacity to dream, Patton is glorying in the free association of his unchecked imagination. One such nocturnal flight of fancy finds him exploring the possibilities of being assigned a female body by the US government. If not exploited as a means to better understand women, he does at least seem to be pursuing an altruistic agenda for his male friends. Yet all is not quite as it appears.
And that's because more than anything, Patton is a supremely gifted storyteller, taking often base matter and musing it into gold. His opening tale, about a trip to the sexual health clinic, and an offhand remark by a nurse, inspires a wilfully daft extrapolation of Robocop whoring in the Caribbean. Given that he closes his hour with a pitiful visit to a strip club, you might dismiss him as an unreconstructed, even laddish comedian. Yet as befits his show title, he's both honest about his desires and evolving beyond them. His girlfriend's vibrator is hailed as an ally. And he's charmed by the non-discriminatory catcalling of Brooklyn builders, appreciating the progressive gains and deeper psychological motivations in such harassment.
He addresses several modern concerns, the woker-than-thou smugness of his acquaintances and how hard mothers can physically punish their male children. But Patton always finds a distinctive way into the observation and takes it off on earthy but inspired tangents.
Until 25 August