Edinburgh Fringe 2018
If there is a show where the phrase – you have to be there – made better sense – let me know. This is all about Strangely who plays the accordion and has done so for 10 years. Here he plays it again and meanwhile tells some anecdotes before inviting people to help him out, then shoe horning an audience member into his pants and ending up almost naked with his leather thong on show, whilst held aloft by the crowd in a tour de force ending that is as impressive as his thong is thin.
$300 for an accordion and a lifetime of making people laugh – priceless? There are a number of clichés that you could fling at this, but they would all be batted back. Yes, I was the reviewer at the back of the hall referenced tonight, and we were in a room twice the size of where we were supposed to be because the popularity of Strangely – for this is he who plays the accordion – is affectionately and infectiously easy to understand.
He is anarchic, he is strange, but more importantly he is an engaging ruffian with the hair and the flair of a funny guy with beard. And oh, what a beard. Finding a man in the audience, Tim, who looks exactly like him was genius. So, to were the routines with Lauren – another audience member – where she stood in front and he played from behind, the anecdotes and some of the songs.
My favourite song came from the Oregon Country Fair and left the others in their wake, I think because it was both original and celebrated the strange nature and ways of those that may well have spawned Strangely.
As a performance this was one where the crowd, late night frippery at its best, is the perfect foil for his routines. Getting a shot of spirits from the performer was therefore never going to hinder this crowd and allowed the lack of finesse and the increasing number of laughing at your own jokes self parody get missed and pardoned whilst the genuine joy of simply partying was spreading like wildfire.
Whilst I am sure there are quite a few instruments that will never get invited to a party – like the Tuba – this is one musical instrument which should be first on the list – accompanied by a Strangely.
Strangely is fun, he is endearing, he is fine and he is dandy. He ain’t the best but with a short career now behind him, you can see how this could become increasingly polished and an institution – hopefully before he gets put into one… It’s a free show at the door and pay what you want on the way out. $300… priceless.