From the humid and dark recesses of Greenside Infirmary Street, a particularly fabulous member of the aristocracy takes us through a rollicking and camp-filled history of homosexuality in what is surely one of the more bizarre and fabulous cabarets at this year's festival.
A wonderfully charming little show that any curious Fringe-goer should put on their list this Festival.
We join 'Lord Hicks', a besuited Victorian gentleman who, with the assistance of his trusty keyboard and a ukulele, regales the audience with the history of the LGBTQ community from the first anti-buggery law to the modern day trials and tribulations of finding love on Grindr. If you couldn’t tell by the above description, the show's tongue is firmly in cheek. Our host brings a sharp and camp charm to his performance, able to reduce the audience to tears of laughter through a simple raised eyebrow or a pointed “thank you” in the middle of a song.
Hick’s presence is central to the show’s appeal; his potent charisma is enough to draw the audience into his fabulous story and his frequent ad-libbing and audience interactions certainly created a huge deal of goodwill that carried him through the entire performance. He is aided by a toe-tapping selection of original and covered songs that range from the hysterically funny to genuinely touching. Indeed, one of the great points in the show’s favour is its ability to draw out moments of surprising emotional poignancy in the midst of an otherwise camp tone, without creating cognitive dissonance. A piece on the plight of Oscar Wilde was particularly emotionally arresting, and Hicks is able to use his light comedic touch to celebrate, remember and mourn the great triumphs and losses of the slow march for liberation the gay community has faced across the span of history.
It is this warm emotive centre that carries the show through the few technical difficulties that cropped up during an otherwise wonderful performance. In other shows, awkward pauses in switching from mic stand to mic stand, misbehaving props, and a tendency for Hicks voice to fade in and out would be large problems. Here, however, Hick’s natural showmanship is able to make light of these issues and have the audience back onside at a moment's notice. I would crop all of this up to early-run jitters and I am sure with time they will be overcome, even if the production team should still work on reducing some of the ambient sound in the venue that at times was distracting to the main performance.
Regardless, Sod’s Law is a wonderfully charming little show that any curious Fringe-goer should put on their list this Festival.