Edinburgh Fringe 2010
This is a variety show of acts that changes every night. No one act is on for more than 10 minutes at a time which allows for something that pleases everybody. At times reminiscent of a Victorian freak show, be prepared for everything from, simple dance routines, comedians, magicians and the inevitably but highly appropriate burlesque performers.
The night begins with wonderfully able host Desmond O’Connor. Not his real name, I suspect. In this beautiful venue, he warms the audience up by showing where the boundaries are for a night like this. In fact there really are none, but that is a welcome green light for any shy and retiring audience member. As this prime time evening slot guarantees, the majority of the rooms is suitably charged with alcohol. So, Des’s suggestive remarks get the room buzzing. He kindly helps them to practice their applause, cheering, whooping and everything else needed for this cabaret to thrive.
So, tonight’s show began with a male and female dance act, “ The Kitsch Kats”. Apparently they will be a feature every week. Dressed as brightly coloured workmen, they performed a dance that was surely inspired by Pans People. The routine involved plungers which they provocatively positioned whilst they did a cute salsa. They were followed by veteran comedian Norman Lovett. He is dryer than the perfect Martini. He played with a plastic bag that dissolved the audience into fits, with the highlight of his shtick being the finding of a 2.5inch screw with a Philips head. No, I didn’t get that one either but most of the men roared. When I got home later, I ran it past on my husband who also thought it was hilarious. This was quickly followed by Mr B the Gentleman rhymer, (sic). In a nutshell, Mr B’s act is Noel Coward meets acid house. Accompanied by a banjo and backing track he performed an upper class version of The Shamens’s, “I can move every mountain” which segued into, “I like to move it”, from the hit Dreamworks animation Madagascar. By now the crowd were at warp factor 50.
We are then treated to Rueben. Reuben is double jointed gymnast, who can perch on, what appears to be an upturned ashtray, on one arm, whilst contorting his body into gymnastic feats of strength. It’s actually awesome. His power and body beautiful are truly bewitching. He majestically performs along to that weird atmospheric music you only ever hear in spas. Rueben knows not to overstay his welcome. There is genuine envy in the room. He earns the applause and cheers he is given. He makes way for Kiki Kaboom. The only chav stripper I have ever seen. Kiki has apparently won many awards for her unique approach to taking her clothes off. With ripped fishnets and chewing gum she threatens to fight anyone in the audience who is looking at her the wrong way before revealing the tasselled nipples we were all waiting for. She is good at this.
Sxip Shirey. I am not sure I can even do this act any justice, you really had to be there. He demonstrates various kids musical instruments, all horrific noise makers that made me shrink back like superman with Krypton. He then performs one of the funkiest tracks I’ve ever heard that’s totally George Clinton. I’m sure it’s by accident but it works. He looks like Don King gone berserk. He’s utterly mad. Appropriately last, but definitely not least, is the superbly wonderful, “Pippa the Ripper”. She is my favourite act tonight. Pippa can do things with an illuminated hula hoop that even in my childhood playground days were an impossible dream. Armed with two, no three, no four, hoops all spinning in different directions, Pippa stands nonchalantly almost bored and gives us two fingers if we dare to applause. She drags a stunned young man on stage and limbos over him with an unholy and filthy agility. I am jealous.
Des O’Connor rounds the night off with saucy song of incest aided and abetted by the now demure Kiki Kaboom. When you go, you’ll have a completely different line up. If you don’t see something that amuses you, I’ll be very surprised.