Gilded Balloon Teviot, Edinburgh
Ryan Cull is Canadian and it’s soon evident that his homeland, and what happened to him in his childhood, has pretty much shaped the man he is today. As a youngster, he suffered from Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, a condition which affects the hip and meant that he had to spend a couple of his formative years wearing leg braces. He supplies a large photograph of himself wearing them and asks if anybody in the audience has heard of the disease. There’s a doctor in the house, who says she knows about it. Amazingly, there’s also a man who is actually suffering with the condition himself, and a woman whose brother has it. Cull does a double take and claims this is the first time this has happened to him. He suggests that the four of them should go out for lunch.
Cull has an appealing personality and he’s good at talking to his audience and getting them to talk back to him. His best material is the stuff that deals with the childhood illness and the lifelong effect it’s had on him. Some of his other stuff (a riff about the people he dislikes on Facebook, for instance) suffers from over-familiarity while his views on what constitutes a ‘real man,’ seem faintly old fashioned.
But he’s a good storyteller and the tale about his youthful attempt to get rid of his freckles using a razor is (if you’ll forgive the pun) hair-raising. This is pleasant, likeable stuff, and well worth checking out.