Audiences are unlikely to come across a gentler hour of comedy at this year's Fringe—nor a show more ill-suited to its time slot —than Kwame Asante's meditation on body image. As the Pleasance Courtyard fills with giddy late night revellers, it's a sobering experience to find yourself in the company of such an eminently reasonable performer. A doctor by trade, Asante is reassuringly clever and articulate. He's funny too, but seems genuinely ambivalent about making us laugh. While most entertainers would take deafening silence as a cue to abandon a presentation of holiday slides, our hero continues undaunted.
Teenage Heartblob discusses the impact years of obesity have had on Kwame, though he doesn't dwell on this subject. Instead, he chats away about his relocation from London to Birmingham, the various demands of a career in the NHS, and having to retrieve a young cousin from some public toilets. This doesn't feel like standup, but something more akin to having a natter.
Where Asante shines is in demonstrating his vast medical knowledge. During these moments, he comes across as uncharacteristically playful and even willing to push ideas to surreal extremes. Otherwise, this is a tepid affair, light on laughs but pleasant all the same. There's something holding Asante back at present. If only he were more irrational, more impulsive, more flawed as a person.