Gay Furnish Flirt Coach

Outrageously over-the-top characters, a raucous Edinburgh Fringe audience and lashings of inappropriate advice from a self-styled flirt coach, sexologist and dating guru. It sounds like a sure-fire recipe for success but unfortunately Gay Furnish: Flirt Coach fails to live up to this promise.

Gay’s interactions with the crowd are a mixed bag, providing some laughs but all too often feeling strained.

Gay is the creation of character comedian Charlotte McDougall and she’s here to improve the romantic lives of festival-goers visiting the city. Aiding her in this quest are the musical talents of Chad Le Long, a variety of ‘guest speakers’ and members of the audience plucked out at regular intervals.

It doesn’t take long to figure out McDougall’s approach. Gay fires out lines like a scattergun, but that doesn’t mean that there are a lot of gags in the show. Rather, the bulk of the material consists of a mixture of self help/dating advice with the odd vulgarity thrown in.

It’s a formula which fails to light up the stage, gaining moderate success at the outset but becoming stale as the set goes on. The cast of guest speakers, also played by McDougall, are even less compelling with material which more often than not falls flat. McDougall’s driven business executive proves that it’s nearly impossible to make office jargon funny regardless of context, while the humour in her bouncy fitness fanatic routine seems to rest on the idea that Australians can’t count.

Gay’s interactions with the crowd are a mixed bag, providing some laughs but all too often feeling strained. The inclusion of a sprinkling of musical numbers doesn’t help and it isn’t long until she’s lost sections of the crowd, with many electing to duck out of the door as McDougall leaves the stage to change costumes.

Perhaps as August wears on McDougall’s work will become a bit more polished, and her interactions with the audience may get a little slicker. Whether or not this will be enough to make up for the deficiencies in the material she is presenting remains to be seen.

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The Blurb

Character comedian Charlotte McDougall (Bearded Ladies, Radio 4) is Gay Furnish, sexologist and dating guru. Gay's masterclass introduces a squad of guest gurus and mentors. 'Do you have zero charisma? Are you sweaty and awkward but yearn for intimacy? Are you an introvert, an extrovert or a pervert? Don't criticise yourself, spend time with yourself, play with yourself. I can change your life. No, seriously. I can.' 'Impressive stuff. Comedy with its head on, with flashes of sheer genius' **** (Scotsman). 'Mad. Absolutely bonkers. But very funny' **** (Daily Express). 'Unmissable' ***** (Daily Mail).