revue starts with a similar litany of homophobic slurs but his riposte, an hour of songs by gay singers or writers, paints a fuller historical picture, ending with acceptance.
The classically trained, Hong Kong- raised Australian takes on various queer voices from musical history, from the closeted to the in-your-face, from the obvious (‘I Am What I Am’) to the comical, ably backed by piano maestro Warren Wills.
With little more stage dressing than his immense charisma and pretty boy looks, this is a restrained affair, rather than a shocking, rainbow and sequins- laden spectacle. It is testimony to the fact that now, at least in some circumstances, the queer perspective can exist in its own right, rather than as a defiant act of controversy. But there’s nothing wrong with a little fabulosity, and Lau’s great voice and professional act wouldn’t lose any of its quality with the addition of some glitz. (Suzanne Black) ■ St George’s West, 0844 477 1000, until 30 Aug (not 18), 8pm, £10–£11 (£8–£9).
for GLASGOW THEATRE see non-Festival magazine
MORECAMBE Show-stopping comic tribute ●●●●●
This funny-sad account of the life and death of the man who was dubbed Britain’s ‘comedian of the century’ is already a big hit with Fringe crowds. It’s fair to assume that the prospect of seeing the late, great Eric Morecambe brought back to life on stage would alone have been enough to put plenty of bums on seats. And it’s probably the case that simply recreating Morecambe’s memorable comic mannerisms – fluttering his specatcles, yelping at punchlines, those sudden switches from clown to brusier, etc – and performing a selection of the still hilarious one-liners Eric delivered to his straight-man Ernie would have made for an entertaining show in its own right.
Happily, however, Morecambe is more than mere tribute. Tim Whitnall’s script, as directed by Guy Masterson,
really gets to grips with its subject, looking back over the life of the lad from Lancashire who became ‘the tall one with glasses’ and suggesting it was his innate funny bones that ultimately did him in. And taking on the daunting task of filling the man’s shoes, comic actor Bob Golding delivers a show-stopping performance. (Miles Fielder) ■ Assembly Hall, 4.10pm, until 31 Aug (not 17), 4.10pm, £13–£15 (£11–£13).
Festival Theatre NOIR Cinematic scenes on high ●●●●●
Taking the melodrama, sophistication and archetypes of the film noir genre, this gravity-defying show certainly has its work cut out. Not only do the performers have to scale heights and work with an array of equipment, they also attempt to weave a narrative into their circus skills. Which is perhaps why, at times, it feels as though neither of these elements is winning. The storyline, such as it is, centres on an unsolved murder. A detective attempts to unravel the mystery of his lover’s death, leading him to encounters with a blonde woman and enigmatic client. Or at least that’s what it says in their publicity material – top marks if you can figure all that out simply from watching it.
The company’s aerial technique is largely strong, but in the confines of the space, they’re restricted to fairly minimal gestures. Watching them skilfully climb a narrow rope as if it were a flight of stairs, you get the impression some of them are capable of a whole lot more. If only they weren’t wasting time wandering endlessly around the stage in a bid to inject some drama into proceedings. (Kelly Apter) ■ Gilded Balloon Teviot, 622 6552, until 16 Aug, 4pm, £7.50–£8.50 (£6.50–£7.50).
MY QUEER VALENTINE Rick Lau sings the rainbow ●●●●●
CRUSH From hormonal teenagers to marriage: Paul Charlton returns ●●●●● Paul Charlton’s Fringe debut – 2003’s Love, Sex and Cider – won a major award for its portrayal of the lives of four angst-ridden teenagers in North East England. His comeback piece six years later, however, is a predictably more mature affair. A dark look at the breakdown of a young couple’s marriage, it forces us to consider the way in which the internet not only simplifies our lives, but how much easier it makes it to do things we know to be wrong or misguided.
crescendos into the play’s powerful, almost tragic ending. Yet, while its characters are likeable and the situation in which they find themselves all too believable, there’s a disjointed element to this production that’s hard to shake off. Charlton began the work as a monologue for Sam then added Anna’s side of the story later, and parts of her narrative feel repetitive. In addition, while the two actors vividly portray the fractured couple, there’s a distinct lack of chemistry across the imaginary wall that divides them, ultimately making it harder to feel the true misery of their situation.
Crush is a tightly-crafted, emotional two-hander, in But while elements of the performance are weighed
‘I’m a poof, I’m a poofter, I’m a ponce. I’m a bum-boy, batty-boy, backside- artist, bugger. I’m bent,’ stated Stuart Alan Jones ten years ago in Queer as Folk, his harsh language mirroring the harsh reality of one’s very existence being controversial. Rick Lau’s musical which Sam and Anna, both 29 years old, reflect on their marriage and deal with the spectre of their unfulfilled, post-university dreams. Their narratives never overlap, Sam’s being told while he watches a Manchester City versus Burnley football match on the internet and Anna’s while she is in the gym. Both are flowing with adrenaline, creating a heart-thumping energy that
down by an over-reliance on shouting and frenzied talking, the subtleties of Charlton’s script ensure that Crush is an engaging theatrical experience, even though the end doesn’t quite fulfil its gut-wrenching potential. (Yasmin Sulaiman) ■ Underbelly, 0844 545 8252, until 30 Aug (not 19), 3.15pm, £6.50–£10.50 (£8.50–£9.50).
66 THE LIST FESTIVAL MAGAZINE 13–20 Aug 2009