As the audience arrives for Morgan Rees’ show at the Pleasance, there’s a pair of shoes sticking out behind the curtain. Most people notice, one man pretends to stamp on them, but we don’t really know why they are there. The doors close and the shoes are still there. Finally, as Rees is introduced, he pops out from behind the curtain in a red mesh shirt and those same shoes, having stood stock still for about 10 minutes. And to think someone wanted to step on him…
I was constantly laughing
Rees brings an instant energy and warmth to the stage as he begins to talk about himself and his life. Discussing his humble beginnings and family life (including a YouTube obsessed aunt) there’s an immediate connection between himself as a performer and audience members, that only grows over time. As Rees trusts us with more of his story, he tells us about his sexuality and his discovery that he is bisexual. This is a running subject throughout the show as he reveals to us different family members he came out to and their subsequent reactions. What made this so different to other routines about sexuality I’ve seen this year is that it didn’t come from a place of victimhood or self-mockery. Rees was proud of himself and constantly said that he was excited about coming to his friends and family – most of them anyway.
It's Rees’ personality that really shines through this set and makes him different to other LGBT+ acts I’ve seen this year. He talks about really important issues, such as biphobia, and makes it accessible and interesting to listen to. There are a couple of unapologetically queer moments in the show (the exclamation of “bumming is mint” came as a shock for a few cross-armed men in the audience), but it’s that sense of fun that offsets any potential awkwardness that comes from the subject. Rees does a great job to make us feel comfortable, while offering some great gags in the process.
Coming out to his aunt and uncle seemed to be the easiest thing for Rees (I won’t spoil any surprises) and it was during this routine that I was constantly laughing. As a queer man myself I related to a lot of the material and overall, what he has done with this show is create a mainstream hour of comedy that is not only important to learn about, but is laugh out loud funny too. My view after seeing this show is that Morgan Rees needs a bigger room because if he makes this great connection with a larger audience, he’ll be flying.