Edinburgh Fringe 2016
Wonderful comic dancer brings music hall up to date with terrific turns
Are you cool? Do you walk cool? Talk cool? Dress cool? Lewys Holt’s show defines what it means to be hip – hence the title. You start to question the choices you have made in your wardrobe that evening; you wonder how others might perceive your gait; you start laughing at yourself. What fun it all is, how ridiculous we all are, especially us men.
Lewys plays the gig with the house lights up, like the legendary music hall artiste Max Wall once did. There is plenty of Max Wall in his performance too: silly walks, trouser routines, comic turns with a melancholic air. There is a nod to Rick Mayall in his persona as well, he could well be a younger Dangerous Brother. Throw in his Hugh Grant looks and his casual diffidence and you will understand why the young women in the audience, and everyone else come to that, were hooked on his less than cool moves. He’s a heart throb.
We laughed a lot; nervously at first but then as his improvising and riffing off the audience developed, this turned into deep belly laughs as we delighted in his lampooning of machismo strutting and male social mores. Lewys appears to be a natural comedian, effortless despite the physicality, and the comedians that seem to grow like vine weed between the cobbled stones of Edinburgh these days, should take a lesson from his affectionate, honest delivery. The content is just as fine; he has an eye for detail: ‘triple layered heel supports’ ‘the Urethra font’ – he has the honed ear of a skilled satirist.
At heart though, he’s a dancer. Barefoot, lithe, muscular he owns the space with his twists and turns as if he is possessed by the sheer joy of movement. Dancing didn’t square with his macho laddish youth, so he left the Zoo Weekly culture behind, shed it like clothes no longer fit for purpose. I’m so glad he did. Redemption through dance – and he got us all dancing, the entire audience on our feet and letting ourselves go. Anybody walking in at this point would not have thought it very cool at all but by then nobody cared, we all preferred to be unselfconsciously happy, dancing like no one is watching.
Not since comic genius John Hegley got all the glasses wearers dancing with abandon at The Pleasance a few years back have I seen such joyful abandonment. Let yourselves go.