Henry Ginsberg is a true outsider; never popular enough to be accepted into the mainstream, but never quite anti-establishment enough to be accepted into any 'alternative' tribes. This lack of identity, along with his unrelenting bitterness, forms the basis for his debut hour – one that is delivered with an openness and brutal honesty rarely explored by comics.

This may be his first full hour at the Fringe, but the material is strong and the stage persona fully realised.

Despite the loneliness and self-loathing that is intrinsic to his performance, the show never feels too dark, with every inch of his neuroses and social anxiety mined for comic effect. His celebration of his own insecurities allows the audience to relax in his presence; not an easy task considering the subject matter and the furnace-like, intimate venue. There are occasional stumbles and hesitancies, but these mistakes only serve to make his awkward persona more believable, and paradoxically keep the audience on his side.

Many of the jokes tend to rely on controversial topics and swear words, but there is never a feeling that Ginsberg is going for shock value. Rather, he has a rare ability to take a bad situation and find the humour in – an optimistic technique that perfectly offsets his pessimistic disposition. This may be his first full hour at the Fringe, but the material is strong and the stage persona fully realised. With a little bit of polishing, Ginsberg could become a festival favourite.

Reviews by Ed Barnes

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Performances

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The Blurb

In his long awaited debut show, Henry Ginsberg explores themes of identity, self-deception, existential angst and spunk. 'Successfully mines his outsider status for a delightfully offbeat set, hinting at emotional blackness - but in a fun way' (Chortle.co.uk).