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Dave Chawner: Mental


Dave Chawner: Mental

Cabaret Voltaire

36-38 Blair Street
The Long Room: AUG 4-28 at 17:00 (60 min) - Pay What You Can

Dave Chawner: Mental

The critically acclaimed show about mental health (rather than mental illness) returns to The Edinburgh Fringe. Number 1 best selling author, award winning comic and presenter Dave Chawner brings his new and improved show to The Fringe. As seen on BBC, ITV and Channel 5. As heard on BBC Radio 1, Radio 2 and Radio 4.

This year we have two entry methods: Free & Unticketed or Pay What You Can
Free & Unticketed: Entry to a show is first-come, first served at the venue - just turn up and then donate to the show in the collection at the end.
Pay What You Can: For these shows you can book a ticket to guarantee entry and choose your price from the Fringe Box Office, up to 30 mins before a show. After that all remaining space is free at the venue on a first-come, first-served bases. Donations for walk-ins at the end of the show.

News and Reviews for this Show

August 24, 2022    Broadway World

Dave Chawner's addition to the Free(-ish) Fringe is a witty and charming account of the journey with his mental health, and how the rejection of typical masculinity fuelled his eating disorder in adolescence. Mental is, he says, a follow up to his previous show about mental illness; here he wants to focus on mental health. The two are frequently and frustratingly conflated, he ruminates.

Mental blurs that line frequently however, with Chawner talking extensively about his past experiences with anorexia, accompanied by a darkly funny anecdote about finding himself in hospital beside a builder with a saw injury. The show is at its best in moments like these, leveraging the dark humour Chawner wields so well.

Mental flits between hilarity and vulnerability, managing to be funny even in its hardest subject matter. Chawner is interactive and animated, involving the audience in a way that feels natural and which flows well with the material. The simple punchlines are often the best, and there's a subtly in many of the jokes that is skilfully managed. Sometimes the joke itself is the slow burn reaction in the audience. He makes working the crowd look easy, involving them in something deeply personal without it becoming uncomfortable.

Chawner appears at times almost nonchalant about offering up these painful experiences for laughs, but it's clear how difficult turning them into content for consumption and criticism is. He discusses how a particularly cruel review from a callous stranger contributed to a relapse a few years ago. When several people leave towards the beginning of the show, well-natured mocking turns into something that starts to feel genuinely personal. Given that the show came with a trigger warning in the beginning, it's not unexpected for people to leave throughout. That option should be freely available without judgement, whether that's their reason or not. Given this, I hope Chawner prioritises his own mental health during this run of shows (just don't tell him to breathe). Click Here For Review

August 11, 2022    Entertainment Now

Dave Chawner has had to deal with some mental health problems in the past, now he wants to change the narrative. While acknowledging that these problems are very important, he wants to get people talking about mental health, and why it’s different from mental illness.

Despite the topics of the show being quite heavy, Dave Chawner produces a delightfully entertaining and wholly hilarious hour of standup. The Free Fringe has always been a great source of talent at the festival, and this is one of their shows that you should definitely go and see.

“Mental” mainly focuses on Dave’s struggle with anorexia, and the stigma that came attached to it for him as restrictive eating disorders are normally more associated with women. But throughout the show, he addresses what he went through, how he learned to deal with it and how people going through tough times can learn to feel better and accept themselves. But, the way he chooses to teach people about how to cope with mental illness is through comedy, something he is clearly qualified to teach. His material is funny, his delivery is well thought out and his experience and storytelling make for an interesting show.

Dave Chawner has the comedic talent to go far, and the basis of his show is also an important social issue. There are few comics at the festival who are both able to joke about a subject and be a reliable authority on said subject. The Free Festival is very extensive, with a great variety of shows on offer to cater to all audiences, but Dave Chawner’s “Mental” could be one of the highlights. Click Here For Review