Paul Chowdry is perhaps one of the most interesting comedians at the Fringe this year. His material is fast paced and edgy, dancing along the thin line of what is and is not acceptable material for comedy with gleeful abandon. Indeed, when Chowdry does seemingly overstep the line, his strong sense of irony and obvious self-awareness mean that he almost always gets away with it. His delivery is also very charming, which probably helps.
Chowdry succeeds in drawing together the various themes and recurring motifs of his material to provide his final flourish.
Race, class, paedophilia – Chowdry never shies away from a topic which might cause offense. However, his material is sharp and intelligent enough that it never feels forced. There is never the impression that he is relying on shock factor for laughs, merely that he delights in finding the comedy amidst taboo topics.
As a performer, he is engaging and energetic, haranguing audience members who get up to go to the toilet and refusing to let his targets sink back in their seats and be forgotten about. Sometimes, his jokes seem a little laboured: too long will be spent interrogating a particular audience member, for example. However, most of his material is fast paced and witty.
At the end of his set, Chowdry succeeds in drawing together the various themes and recurring motifs of his material to provide his final flourish. This gives the show a coherence and sense of direction that is often lacking in the lacklustre ramblings of less experienced comedians.
Indeed, it is Chowdry’s professionalism and confidence that shines through above all. This is a man who knows which jokes work and how to deliver them, judging the mood in the room impressively. Whist never extraordinary, this is a competent and assured performance.