Tucked away in Grassmarket, the Sweet is an innocuous venue which this year plays host to one of the most random, madcap events I have ever seen at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Get ready for funky dancing and pop music aplenty, but as you have never encountered it before.
He has the air of a young page boy at a wedding reception with the dancefloor to himself, but who doesn’t quite know what to do with it
Upon entering the space, you’re greeted by thumping disco tunes and an exuberant Tomas Ford, already on his feet and gallivanting around the space. He has the air of a young page boy at a wedding reception with the dancefloor to himself, but who doesn’t quite know what to do with it. There is an entertaining contrast between Ford’s audience patter and his actions – even as he insists that it’s the costumes and props that make or break a performance, he is kicking into a place a ramshackle line-up of objects that give very little clue as to what is in store that evening.
This is a very carefully constructed chaos. Shouting at himself and the music in turn, Ford moves on stage like a man possessed. Props are thrown, water is spilled and costumes are pulled together with an electrifying, manic energy. It feels like parts of this have been made up moments before they take place; however, the self-deprecating subtitles projected on screen are a reminder that all is being kept in hand, if only just.
Central to the performance are the songs themselves, which range from Iggy Azalea's Fancy to Kylie Minogue’s I Can’t Get You Out of My Head. You get the feeling that, having spent so much time playing these in his other show Crap Music Rave Party, Ford is now experimenting to see just how far he can push traditional pop performance boundaries. Some are sung, some are screamed, some are accompanied by interpretive dance. It seems that the further we go down the rabbit hole, the more surreal these manifestations become.
Craptacular needs to be experienced to be believed. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but you won’t know until you’ve tried it. What’s certain is that if you enjoy audience participation, sing-alongs and all that is weird and wonderful about the festival, book your tickets now.