Edinburgh previews are in full swing and London venues have a variety of actors, comedians, writers and artists alike starting to form their shows to completion. I was invited to see a trio of sneak-peeks at The Phoenix Artist Club. The famous ‘LGBTQ+ safe haven’ as quoted by Camden Council host many of the quirky, expressive and inventive shows and was are no different. These three add to the glamour, humour and fun that is fringe theatre.
First off, we have Jasper Red, a bio-queen who takes you on a journey of spiritual healing and a love of Britney Spears – of course! Secondly, Lord Hicks, a cabaret performer bringing British gay history to the front with the help of his ukulele and repertoire of genres. Finally, stand-up comedian Joe Sutherland brings a sharp-witted set as he addresses the idea of stereotypical masculinity.
It wouldn’t be fair to give these 20 minutes previews a full rating, but I can most definitely give an insight of these three shows that are soon to be dropped into the full focus of The Edinburgh Fringe Festival! With the many productions heading to Edinburgh this August, I hope this can shed a small light on some productions worth considering.
JASPER RED’s piece is probably the most conceptual of the three. Set in a healing group, Jasper addresses the audience as her clients and is there to enlighten them on her recently learned techniques of healing and awakening. Jasper is a perfect example of many individuals (dare I say stereotyped millennials?) that we might know that now consider themselves ‘reborn again’ through more spiritual means – but yet, only on a very shallow surface. Deep down, you know the character has learnt nothing at all. The show is coated in satire and Jasper Red, created and performed by Natalie Walmsley, gains momentum throughout. As you begin to understand where she is coming from, this unique piece becomes exhilarating. A certain highlight is during a breathing exercise where Jasper returns to her phone during a supposed ‘silent time’. Her hilarious and emoji-filled texts are then displayed through a projection whilst the audience are ‘meant’ to have their eyes closed. The humour is promising and the concept, unique. This show looks very promising and I look forward to seeing more.
You can catch Jasper Red’s show at Greenside Venues’ Fern Studio at 5:25pm during the fringe festival.
LORD HICKS has become an acknowledged act in London and the cabaret performer is taking his new show up to the fringe to inform the masses of the British homosexual history through tightly strung tunes. Lord Hicks is a well-realised character. He is intriguing and engaged with his audience. His songs vary between pastiche and parody but fit the bill quite clearly. The show is quite sexually descriptive but equally comical and Lord Hicks has the charisma and charm to carry it through. There’s an important message of brutal history in this show and Lord Hicks makes sure the message is heard. A strong mashup of Bronx Beat, Sylvester and Village People proves to be a popular moment for the quirky performer’s show.
You can catch Lord Hick’s show at Greenside Venues’ Mint Studio at 5:15pm during the fringe festival.
JOE SUTHERLAND’s 60-minute stand-up show, ‘Toxic’ addresses masculinity and questions whether there are new ways to show-off manliness – Joe states that he related much more to The Spice Girls growing up than anything else. Sutherland has been working in comedy for five years and he is no stranger to the fringe crowd. There’s can be a stigma or worry regarding audience exclusion when a comic can be branded as a ‘gay comic’ or someone who can only relate to a certain demographic of the audience. This is not the case. Joe is one of the most relatable comedians in recent years with down to earth, refreshing and fun material.
You can catch Joe Sutherland at the Underbelly’s Bristo Square at 8:10pm in August with the full schedule online at the Underbelly website.
Edinburgh Festival Fringe