David McIver presents an absurd character-based one-man sketch show, strongly themed around the problem with masculinity. The opening premise is that this is his eighteenth birthday party – a rite of passage for many as they transition from “boy to man”. This sets the tone for a well-crafted piece of comedy, which features a cast of some of the most toxic archetypes of Manliness.
The drill sergeant, the “cool” absent father who refuses to grow up, the Alpha pick-up artist; all of these expose their own insecurities through their macho personas , in increasingly strange and unsettling ways. It gives you plenty to think about on how society struggles to deal with perceptions of what makes a man, or better yet, just a decent human being.
McIver plays on his own feelings of inadequacy, anxiety and low self-esteem. He conveys a confident ball of energy zipping across the stage, engaging with the audience (even opening the show by encouraging two men to batter him to death), and does well not to lose too much momentum with the intermittent costume changes.
What at the outset appears a bunch of eccentric unrelated characters soon reveals itself to have a deeper connection, tied neatly together as they are by McIver's coy birthday boy persona. There are plenty of parts that build to a clever and thought-provoking conclusion. Once you see where McIver is headed, the payoff is rewarding: as funny as the show is, it is the underlying sentiment of being able to express yourself and defying gender conformity that really holds this performance together.
McIver is a nice little man, and he has created a very personal, touching, nice little show – with a big poignant message to take away.