Normally Abnormal

When an audience is laughing, they are listening. When they are listening, they are engaging – and when they are engaging, they can learn. This is Dave Chawner’s approach to his new show, making Normally Abnormal an uplifting and refreshingly honest look at the way our society addresses eating disorders, mental health and anxiety.

There is no pressure to be perfect, and there is no ideal to aspire to, simply a state of individual imperfection.

Chawner plays on his unimposing figure to introduce the show, calling forth any and all stereotypes that his appearance fits to tackle them head on. Blending anecdotes with easy audience interaction, he constructs a solid structure that constantly and clearly refers back to his original introduction. By tackling so called ‘stigmatised’ subjects whilst refusing to address them as such, Chawner is actively opening the freedom of discussion around these topics and removing the sensational status they are given by mainstream media. Talking about his struggle with eating disorders and the lack of coverage that male anorexia receives, Chawner is not afraid to blend honest details with artfully constructed puns that help to make insightful points without removing the fun from the evening. Never lost for words, Chawner uses his stories to remain in control of the mood of the room, taking the atmosphere from a hushed silence to raucous laughter in seconds. There is an interesting dichotomy throughout between the laughable and the truly serious; skipping meals to impress a girl may seem entertainingly superficial, but exploring the deeper impact this experience had upon his lifestyle draws the link between the mental and physical side effects, and highlights those not so easily seen by the public. These details may seem uncomfortable, but it is this blunt honesty and transparency that helps Chawner’s set to stand out.

Normally Abnormal is named after Chawner’s new life philosophy; there is no pressure to be perfect, and there is no ideal to aspire to, simply a state of individual imperfection. Dave Chawner is already recognised and accredited by many national newspapers and television broadcasters – catch his inspiring work on the Free Fringe while you still can.

Reviews by Katie Rose

Pleasance Dome

Stardust

★★★★★
Underbelly, Cowgate

dressed.

★★★★
Pleasance Courtyard

And Before I Forget I Love You, I Love You

★★★★★
Summerhall

Achilles

★★★
Pleasance at EICC

The Lost Things

★★★
Underbelly’s Circus Hub on the Meadows

Courtney Act: Under the Covers

★★★★

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Award-winning stand-up Dave Chawner takes a hilarious look at identity, recovery and life after eating disorders. 'Makes you laugh as well as think' (BroadwayBaby.com). 'Sharp, insightful, touching, but above all really, really funny' (ThreeWeeks). As seen on BBC, ITV and Channel 4.