One of the best self-written shows, and the most strikingly original voice, that you will see this year. This was an assured and energetic performance from a talented young performer; cartwheeling through the chaos of her life as the poster girl of a new sexual revolution.
This is a bold and radical change of direction for the vocalist formerly known as Tall Dark Friend, who found national fame (if not fortune), not quite winning the Voice in 2016, one of no less than eleven reality TV appearances, her a musical career seemingly on track for the pop mainstream, before this venture down a far more interesting road.
In a packed hour, she tells of the fracturing of contemporary sexuality in a wickedly observed exposition of gender and behavioural mores. Simultaneously self-deprecating and boastful, she portrays a genuine pathos and depth that is impossible not to be drawn in by, think Russel Brand without the annoying, messianic bits.
From beginning to end, she owns the stage, filling it with movement and natural charisma, her stick-thin limbs flailing like a daddy longlegs on speed, yet still elegant and, when the material calls for it, radiating sexuality on a megawatt level.
There is little foul language, and only occasionally graphic material (hilarious when it does come), but adult themes abound, and the way she challenges the sexual identity of the old guys in the audience was particularly poignant. Broadminded parents taking older children should expect quite a lot of questions after the show.
Stories and jokes are mixed with deftly crafted songs, her current musical output could not be further removed from her former career. She has a beautiful ear for an absurdist twist, and a sureness of touch. And the performance was superb, remarkable for a preview show There were no tumbleweed moments and only one brief glance at the script.
Make no mistake, hours and hours of love and rehearsal go into making a performance this spontaneous.
The show has a killer twist, which whilst not exactly a secret, was a wow moment for many in the audience. It’s evident from her website, but much of the material here relates to her former life and is somewhat misleading. Go with an open mind and have it blown.
A hugely talented young woman, and one that is setting a benchmark for her gender. A performance and show that will change how you think. Hilarious, moving, inspirational and above all a life-affirming and joyous shout from a capable and cultured young creative who has, finally, found her true voice.
Book early, book often.
Review by Laura Thomas
Just the Tonic at The Caves, Niddy Street South, Edinburgh Fringe to 2nd to 26th August
Also Festival 31st June 2018