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Edinburgh Fringe 2019

Don’t Frighten the Straights

Turan Ali

Genre: Comedic, Solo Show, Storytelling

Venue: Paradise in Augustines - The Snug


Low Down

BBC comedy and drama writer/director/producer Turan Ali, combines storytelling and comedy in offering confessions about being queer in the modern world.


Turan Ali announces himself as an “international slut and mouthy, old, ethnic poof”, but he is far more urbane than he gives himself credit for. In this show he delivers on the title and tells “gay stories from around the queer world” in a warm hearted, engaging style without ever being frightening at all!  Four tales from his past and a little repartee with the audience make for a familiar, comforting evening of humour, delivered in a charming style, as if holding court to a gathering of friends.

Ali draws on his mixed background of Catholic and Muslim to point out that he is a Fringe programmer’s dream of diversity describing himself as an “old ethnic poof with an arthritic knee”!  I was told he has some forty stories to draw from but he limits himself to four each evening. My favourite would be a story of Ukranian lust and love, which twists delightfully in a lost in translation misunderstanding as Ali has to choose between principle and his baser instincts.  A tale which is ultimately heartening as much as amusing, an enjoyable romp with a touch of poignancy and humanity offering a gentle nudge towards greater tolerance.

A longer tale of a straight policeman being billeted with Ali’s gay friends for a weekend in Manchester was good fun too and neatly satirised our tendency to be defensive or prejudge as the couple and their new friend bond over football allegiance.

Ali’s stories are well constructed and delivered with softly spoken, understated charm. By the time the stage manager was waving at Ali to let him know his hour was up we had warmed in both a metaphorical and literal sense as the air conditioning unit struggled with thirty bodies in the room, but he rushed off to another event with an appreciative and fond round of applause from a well entertained audience.

I’m not sure that in this day and age that these stories are really shocking to a fringe audience; if they are we have not come very far, but Ali offers us a twinkly, assured and enjoyable insight into his past and living life as a gay man, and as such this is a recommended evening to anyone of anyone who likes a good tale so well told.