Entering the Underbelly Fresian, we were enticed by the melodious notes of a live band playing. These talented musicians manipulated the crowds and warmed us up as hostess Tash York enthused at us to take our seats, as she performed a phenomenal jazzed up tribute to Welcome to the Jungle.
A high energy space to indulge in and appreciate what is at the root of Edinburgh Fringe - everything strange, sexy and downright bizarre.
York is an exuberant host, gushing at us enthusiastically as she teases us with promises of debauchery, and that ‘anything goes after hours’. She has an outstanding voice, which I take note of with an awareness that she hosts her own show earlier in the evening. York then gives the audience a run down of what will happen next, inviting us to ‘touch ourselves’ if we particularly enjoy the acts to follow. York dazzles in her role as host, heralding the introduction of each performer with pride and promise as she presents five acts consisting of burlesque, cabaret, sideshow and circus stars.
The acts themselves vary from the great to the grotesque. First up was burlesque performer Bettie Bombshell, who performed a basic striptease which was simple but effective. Sideshow Squid was next up, whose talents include dislocating his shoulder to fit his entire body through a bent coat hanger. More burlesque followed, which was amusing but not particularly provocative or groundbreaking. The outstanding act of the evening was Luke Hubbard, introduced as a circus act and possibly the most graceful and talented performer I’ve seen this Fringe. He performed feats of physical movement which were both captivating and courageous, particularly given the low ceilings of the venue. This provided no challenge to Hubbard, who performed a daring routine which enthralled the audience from start to finish. I’d love to see him perform a longer segment; he really stole the show with his elegant dexterity and gutsy feats. Instead of having Squid perform a second act where he snorts a condom, I'd have much preferred to see more of Hubbard or Bettie Bombshell.
After Hours Cabaret is a fantastic way to spend an hour. A high energy space to indulge in and appreciate what is at the root of Edinburgh Fringe – everything strange, sexy and downright bizarre.