Edinburgh Fringe 2021
Our musician and guide is Graeme Leak. He begins in his college professor, still live with my mother homely look, by placing the first of four cassettes in a snazzy retro cassette player. Then comes the Yamaha organs in which he places flags to keep the keys down, followed by a variety of yesteryear musical and domestic equipment, including AM radios, a whisk, cymbal and drum to build songs about mundane domestic life. From single notes played with those flags in place to keep them playing to the crescendos of glasses on drums or homemade guitars, we are given a variety of domestic themes – shopping, number 24 up for sale, getting milk, the lost sock, the green bin and on and on as he and brings us into an unassuming performance that elevates the ordinary. We have four cassette sections house music, announcements, house knees and electric (or is it Yamaha) organs which break up the whole event when Graeme changes tape – oh the days…
If Margarita Pracatan from Clive James and Raw Sex from French and Saunders had a love child, I think I may not need to ask Who Do We Think We Are to investigate. This is total kitsch joy, delivered with a beautifully hidden tongue in cheek. But it is also more than that. It is bright, delivered with earnestness and demonstrative of exceptional musical skill. The songs may be repetitive, like the chores, but are hilarious given the way in which they are performed.
On top of that the costume suggests a man of a certain age, within a mother led family, being unable to impact upon his domestic life apart from following his wife’s lead (if there is a wife). It is deftly delivered. Leak has the ability to engage in a way which is enticing and illuminating at the same time. His presence is what makes this work so well.
Musically there is beautifully layered and with the magician showing us just how it is all done, and we have no hidden factors about which to wonder. It shows us the abilities of Leak and his love of exploration.
The filming is very sharp. It is beautifully done. The direction makes sure that we have all we need, and it is no better demonstrated than the way in which the microphone is placed. Just at the bottom of our screen, at the beginning, when it is pulled up you see the deliberate nature of why it is placed there – we can see and it can be used practically but also frames the shot. We use it visually to see what it shall all be about and is clever.
Overall, this is not a dramatic presentation which is going to investigate the needs of planet earth or a political farce that shall show us the light but is pure entertaining. The beauty of it is in its simplicity which as it is so well pulled off must mean that it is a complex beast, made to look so easy – and that is sheer genius right there.