Chris Parker: Camp Binch

"I could be one of the Boys," New Zealander Chris Parker sings ecstatically at the start of Camp Binch, wearing a shirt and leggings echoing Elaine Stritch's iconic one-woman show. It’s a heady introduction to 'camp', and quickly followed by a screeching of tyres as Parker dons a wig to become the kind of straight guy who's just incapable of saying the word "gay" while still attempting to address the proverbial elephant in the room.

Parker is full of sweaty energy, barely contained on his small stage, and ready with plenty of clever asides.

Then there's another swerve, as we switch back to Parker, and enter the main body of the show: a biographical 'investigation' into the experiences he's had in life, complete with a succession of school-related photographs taken from the Parker family album. There's an early brush with show business in the form of a TV advert for milk, and then the unavoidable progress through a succession of schools, during which straight guys have "worked you out before you've worked yourself out”. Leading to his experience of being asked back, as a notable former pupil, to address its traditional "Leavers’ Dinner".

Parker is full of sweaty energy, barely contained on his small stage, and ready with plenty of clever asides, not least his idea that nigh on any movie you can think of will be significantly improved by replacing one of the main characters with a camp gay old man. But there's a more serious point here too: that, particularly in his senior school years, he only survived the relentless homophobia prevalent in his rugby-loving, macho-straight New Zealand school because he was lucky enough to find a safe space in its Music and Drama Department alongside like-minded students.

Parker’s clearly heartfelt response to the subsequent discovery that this department had been lost in an earthquake, robbing current gay pupils of an oh-so-vital safe place, arguably endangers the light atmosphere he's spent so long creating. Bringing back the ultra-straight guy wig (now identified as his school's headmaster) and ending on a song do at least ensure his hour-long show has a certain symmetry, but in an unnecessarily disconcerting way.

Reviews by Paul F Cockburn

Royal Lyceum Theatre

Mrs Puntila And Her Man Matti

★★
Traverse Theatre

W*nk Buddies

★★★
Traverse Theatre

Pride Plays

★★★★
Multiple Venues

Oor Wullie

★★★★
Oran Mor / Traverse Theatre

Fly Me To The Moon

★★★★
Platform / Traverse Theatre

The Panopticon

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

New Zealand's beloved sissy Chris Parker (as seen in Netflix's The Breaker Upperers) is mincing his way over to Edinburgh with his award-winning Camp Binch. Winner of Best Show at NZ International Comedy Fest 2018, Camp Binch delivers a hilarious and cathartic retelling of growing up gay in conservative New Zealand. 'He's the one to watch that you're probably already watching!' (GayExpress.co.nz). 'Leaves you inspired to make a difference' (New Zealand Herald). Writer and star of New Zealand's 7 Days, Jono and Ben, and Funny Girls.

Most Popular See More

Cinderella The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £12.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

My Fair Lady

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Grease the Musical

From £20.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets