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Sam Lake: Cake – Edinburgh Fringe

It used to be said, and perhaps it still is, that a female supermodel’s career is pretty much over by the time they are twenty-seven: they are already too old. According to Sam Lake, the same goes for gay men – now in his thirties, he thinks he’s past it. I dare him to tell that to eighty-three-year-old Sir Ian McKellen in a production of Hamlet a mile and a half away. Perhaps Lake personally might be – commenting on the configuration of the Pleasance Courtyard’s Cellar venue, it would appear he wouldn’t want to be in the audience’s shoes, sat as we were on backless benches in a room with inadequate ventilation. All I can say is I made it out of there in one piece to tell the tale.

Sam Lake: Cake - Edinburgh FringeLake confesses to having weaknesses in his skillset, which extend to a hilarious recollection of the time he was trusted by a friend to order an appropriate amount of recreational drugs – the dealer needed, naturally, to know how many grams were required. Some quick thinking was required, and his methods of estimation resulted in an obscene order. The main story, however, is about his wedding, and everything that led up to it (the storyline gets to the cake of the show’s title eventually), as far back as the somewhat awkward initial meeting between him and his husband.

Some still images, as well as videos, are projected at appropriate moments, which faithfully enhance the performance. For Lake, who used to live in London, the Edinburgh Fringe is geographically convenient (even the Scottish comedians I’ve seen this year commute in from Glasgow and other places), having relocated to live with his husband. Details of their wedding day are in plentiful supply – being a wedding, there’s plenty of photographic evidence, even if 3 July 2021 is more memorable for at least one of their guests for being the day in which England beat Ukraine at the deferred Euro 2020 football tournament by four goals to nil.

The journey to the wedding day was far from smooth, and public health restrictions, of course, didn’t help. There’s something as sweet as cake (cue the kind of cheering usually reserved for a barmaid breaking a glass at the pub) about a story demonstrating the enduring power of true love to conquer any and all of life’s many obstacles. An assured and confident debut Fringe performance.

4 stars

Review by Chris Omaweng

Sam, an “elderly” (30-year-old) gay man, tells the story of how he was all set to marry the love of his life in 2020 and perform a show all about his wedding at that year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe. An entire, beautiful hour bragging about how it was going to be the biggest, most unbelievable wedding ever. Then, very swiftly, both the show and his wedding were cancelled. After two years, Sam is now a happily married man, having had quite a different, gloriously chaotic wedding to the one he had planned. This is a show about getting comfortable with things not going how you originally foresaw.

Sam Lake: Cake – Edinburgh Fringe
Pleasance Courtyard – Cellar: 3rd – 28th August: 9:50pm

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