A cabaret with desserts could have been light, fluffy fare but Michelle Pearson isn’t afraid to get into the more bitter ingredients in life. She peppers the show with short tales and thoughts on body image, her childhood, the empowerment of women and of course our obsessions with dessert. Each song is chosen to follow or frame the tales. The music is performed by a four-piece band with a selection that covers pop, Motown, country and rock and although some of the song choices may be a bit on the nose, that’s no bad thing in a cabaret that wears its sugar heart on its sleeve.
A celebration of excess
Pearson is a personable host; charming and funny with a hell of a voice. Her cookery skills are top notch too. We get to sample cupcakes, brownies and mousse and there’s plenty for everyone to have a taste. The venue at Underbelly Cowgate is certainly at oven temperature but that doesn’t stifle the enthusiasm of the audience. There was a split between those who were perhaps expecting a more sedate show and those who are literally dancing in the aisles.
Just Desserts does feel a little disjointed at times. Each break where the band play and Pearson and her assistant hand out the treats gives the audience a chance to chat. This inevitably leads to some folk who never return to focus on the show. A few angry shushes are passed around, which is unfortunate for a show that clearly aims to be inclusive. It is a show in celebration of excess even if that is excessive ebullience.
Looking for a late-night singalong with snacks thrown in hosted by a powerful and charismatic lady? Just Desserts isn't a bad way to finish off your day at the Fringe. If you don’t find yourself singing along with the final medley, then you absolutely don’t deserve any pudding.