Edinburgh Festival Fringe comedy review: Corey White: The Cane Toad Effect, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Jay Richardson.
This is a rewarding and hugely accomplished debut from a stand-up who’s suffered more than his fair share of misfortune. Born to a heroin-addict mother and hardened-criminal father, Corey White spent most of his youth in foster homes.
Then as a young man, he became addicted to crystal meth. Throw in sexual confusion, betrayal and a comically close shave with death and you still aren’t close to the worst that this articulate Australian has experienced during his time on the planet.
That he’s emerged from these trials with a dry sense of humour, upbeat outlook and robust comedy career is probably credit to the quirks of unintended consequence he alludes to in his show title, which rather portentously refers to the catastrophic consequences of introducing the cane toad to Australia’s ecology.
Having revealed that he hit rock bottom, White can afford to be brutally honest about almost every aspect of his life. At the same time, he’s playfully mocking of most middle-class problems, sarcastically putting them back in their privileged place. Philosophical, to the extent of quoting Plato, and insightful about drugs, incarceration and relationships, his light touch with a pun and adroit use of analogy, plus a willingness to absorb a lesson, ensures that this never once feels like a misery memoir.
Palpably pumped by the rejuvenating powers of stand-up and obviously a compassionate man, he narrowly steers clear of lapsing into inspirational platitude on occasion, unnecessarily so because his story is certainly inspiring enough.
But that’s a tough critique to make of a relative newcomer who possesses all the necessary attributes to make it regardless of his biography, his accounts of serious junkie behaviour and mishap probably good for a few more routines yet.
Assembly Hall (Venue 35) until 30 August / listings
Published in The Scotsman on 18 August 2015
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