Edinburgh Fringe Review: Fin Taylor, Pleasance

Fin Taylor has built up a reputation in the last few years for saying the unsayable but somehow getting away with it. Maybe because he's clever. Maybe because he's white, male and middle class. Or maybe because he's just so damn funny. Don't ask me how, I'm just a critic, but having done it with race and politics he has now done it again with gender issues in When Harassy Met Sally.

This time around he is tackling the #metoo and the post-Weinstein fallout that has seen comedians and other public figures having to form a virtual holding pattern, so many of them have been accused of inappropriate behaviour (there was another allegation on the news just before I sat down to write this). At the moment, he suggests, it is becoming increasingly hard to know what the difference is between flirting and harassment.

Taylor is very good at having his cake and scoffing the whole lot of it in one go without getting cream up his nose. He clearly supports women who have been victims while at the same time asking wider questions about recent events. As he asks particularly difficult questions he moves to different parts of the stage and uses props – very funny, sorry to slightly spoil it but it's still funny to see so please stop complaining – so that he does not appear to be too aggressive/mansplaining.

He's very good/sarcastic on the whole issue of consent, using different examples that most of the audience will be familiar with. It's provocative stuff, particularly when he seems to be defending Louis CK. Yet somehow there were no walkouts on the night I was in, just a very bolshy, possible drunk Scottish man who wanted to be part of the show but Taylor, sensibly, was not having any of it. 

It's a tough story to deal with and also a fast-moving one that seems to be evolving before our very eyes. If you lack a sense of humour about the issues or can be easily triggered this might not be the show for you, but while it doesn't offer any answers it is certainly a valid contribution to the whole #metoo debate. If, as Taylor might possibly add in a longer unedited version, men are allowed to contribute to the debate.

Until August 26. Tickets here.

Read more Edinburgh Fringe reviews here.

****

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