My Left Nut review: A sad, funny, moving gem
Helen Archer | On 01, Mar 2020
While a comedy-drama called “My Left Nut”, seeking to explore the importance of men’s health, might not seem like a particularly enticing prospect for many, this limited series proves to be universally appealing. Adapted from an award-winning show at the 2018 Edinburgh Fringe, the three-parter is both heartfelt and heartwarming, covering dark issues with a lightness of touch and in a sensitively humorous way.
Written by Oisin Kearney and Michael Patrick (whose own experiences as a teenager inform the show), the programme stars Nathan Quinn O’Rawe as Mick. While navigating the usual adolescent problems – mastering the art of shaving and going on first dates – he also finds a swelling on his testicles. At first too embarrassed to talk to anyone about it, the problem festers, and his behaviour changes under the weight of his suppressed anxiety. Eventually taking his mother into his confidence, he is able, with her support, to face up to the medical implications.
Some of the funniest parts of this are also the most bawdy – jokes about the size of the protuberance in his trousers make Mick a school legend, and medical students are invited to gawp at his intimate growth. But interspersed with the testicles jokes are genuinely moving moments, from Mick’s mum worrying about the fate of her son to the family’s ongoing grieving for Mick’s dad, who died of motor neurone disease some years previously. The performances are nuanced, from Sinead Keenan as Mick’s mum through to his Inbetweeners-style pals Tommy (Oliver Anthony) and Danny (Jay Duffy), and love interest Rachael (Jessica Reynolds). The result is a genuinely moving, sad, funny, affectionate portrayal of a young man… and his swollen left nut.
My Left Nut is available on BBC iPlayer until January 2022
This short review was originally published as part of a fortnightly BBC Three reviews column.