Genre Fluid is a show about labels – both in the arts and in the LGBTQ+ community. Performer Dan Webber opens with an explanation of the problems he faces in his industry, being “not funny enough to be a comic; not serious enough to be a poet.” However, he also takes issue with the labels often used in social circumstances (“gay”, “queer” etc.) and the harmful stereotypes that can stem from these.
As the title suggests, the show is a blend of various elements: poetry, storytelling, and punchlines, and is tightly scripted rather than being a conversational or adlibbed standup routine. It means there is always forward momentum although Webber is gentle in his delivery, even tentative at times. The bulk of the show centres on love, sex, and dating apps and the mix between funny Grindr screengrabs and reflective spoken poetry (e.g. “you only send kisses when you’re horny”) is mostly effective, although occasionally it’s not clear whether some lines are jokes or not. This blurring of boundaries between “sections” does take a little getting used to.
The final segment is the most affecting as Webber reflects on his mental health and the conclusions he’s drawn in recent years. Despite self-deprecating digs about his work, his wisdom emerges as he writes an epistolary poem to his younger self which is heartfelt and undoubtedly relatable. Despite some uneven transitions in the show, Genre Fluid, therefore, ends on a moving note which bolsters the entire performance.