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Fringe Review: Joe Sutherland: Toxic @ Underbelly


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To many in the gay community, a very camp gay white man may not seem particularly revolutionary or even exciting. However, Joe Sutherland, the epitome of the above stereotype, turns this assumption on its head and comes out (pardon the pun) with an incredibly well-crafted and very funny set of stand up.

Named after both the Britney song and the type of masculinity, Toxic covers a whole range of poignant and important topics mixed in with Sutherland’s witty commentary about life as a young gay man. With impeccable comedic timing, he appeals to a quintessentially British audience, referring to Greggs as a ‘delicatessen’ when explaining it to a foreign audience member, and slagging off politicians and Top Gear fans. Being a millennial as well, there was a lot of content in Toxic that I could relate to, but even for those only somewhat engaged with millennial culture and praxis it is still incredibly good.

Amongst all the jokes and the laughs, Sutherland manages to address serious issues including sexuality, gender identity, sexual assault and mental illness, all using well-nuanced examples from his personal life. Successfully intertwining these with humour when relevant, he brings a new sense of awareness and personal touch to these topics that other comedians often try to do unsuccessfully.

It is rare that a show can make you cry with laughter and ponder the intricacies of gender and sexuality within a five-minute period. However, Toxic does just this. If you see one comedy show this Fringe, make sure it’s Toxic.

Joe Sutherland performs Toxic at Underbelly, Bristo Square at 8.10pm until August 26th. For more information and tickets, click here.

This article is part of our coverage of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Click here to read other articles written by our contributors. 

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