Leith Social offers a rotation of different comedic, musical and cabaret acts under the roof of The Pitt Street Market, hosted by Cornish comedian Sam Lake. First up was Scottish magician Keith Quantum who exhibited a natural ability to engage with the audience well, carefully selecting his targets from a large crowd. Whilst Quantum is undeniably talented in what he does, the Pitt’s layout doesn’t favour his routine as it is difficult to see the card tricks properly from halfway across the large converted warehouse.
If you subscribe to patchwork, organised chaos then you won’t be disappointed
Scottish stand up Rosco McClelland followed up next with a skit on the Covid-19 Pandemic, lamenting the loss of a fulltime work-from-home lifestyle. The Glaswegian shows acute awareness of his surroundings with amusing commentary on a gentrifying Leith, aptly noting the absence of North-Edinburgh locals. Equipped with his keen mind and broad Scottish accent, McClelland is a perfect bridging point of the night and well worth viewing on a solo level.
A last minute change saw drag queen Karen From Finance dropped for the arrival of the brilliant Chloe Petts who was by far the highlight of the evening. Petts, who shows remarkable adaptability and appeal to a broad audience, plays off her sexuality with hilarious quips aimed at the pitfalls of being gay in a heteronormative world, rattling off zinger after zinger with adroit effect. Truly, Petts knows where to land the jokes in the right places and raised the comedy game up several notches.
Lastly, musical duo Humble Heart – comprised of Graham Murdoch and Julie-Ann Neill – rounded off the evening with a pleasant, albeit somewhat out-of-place, rondo of acoustic guitar numbers. Their slot was noticeably quicker than their peers, stopping short after barely eight minutes, and it feels like they may have been better as an opening act. Indeed, this is perhaps the Achilles heel of Leith Social: disorganisation with sprinklings of talent.
In this respect, calling Leith Social a mixed bag would be an understatement. Don’t be mistaken by this critique, however: all of the acts of this showing are enjoyable in their own right, with some four-star, even bordering on five-star, performances. But the last-minute changes and overall organisation of the show as a whole does not gel well together, and following up comedy with acoustic folk music is not a sensible choice. Still, if you subscribe to this patchwork, organised chaos then you won’t be disappointed, and perhaps future viewings will slot into place better. As with any mixed bill, however, it comes with a price, so be aware that the pick and mix style may not always be to your taste.