The Lady Boys of Bangkok - Fur Coats and French Knickers Tour

Somewhere in this show there is a turning point. A moment where you ignore the fact that you have been cheated out of £20 to watch a bunch of performers lip-sync and you get up on your feet and start dancing and laughing along with the strangers that were sitting beside you. It’s the seductive haul of the Lady Boys that has been pulling in the masses for a good while now. The show has become a staple of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival yet it somehow sits away in a world on its own (helped by the fact it’s in a circus tent a good distance away from every other venue). The show’s basic function is to put on display an admittedly beautiful troupe of kathoey (male to female transgender people). They are hypnotic, stunning creatures that will have you struggling to look for signs of masculinity in their diamonds and feather-covered costumes. To put it bluntly, this is a freak show. Yet it is not the freak show of old where audiences would run and cower from the ghastly sights of a bearded lady. In today’s more accepting times, the audience wants to get up and party with these weird and wonderful androgynous creations. Let’s put aside the fact that in not a single one of the dance routines the performers are dancing in time with each other, or that the comedy routines are as basic and as crude as a Benny Hill sketch - because, well, that’s actually a man on stage! That is really it: stripped down to the bare essentials of this show, the artificial entertainment consists of a paint-by-numbers karaoke set list of crowd-pleasers that gets a mostly drunken audience clapping and singing along whilst a group of half-interested performers lip-sync away. To be fair, there are some members of the troupe that really go all-out to get the audience to join in and enjoy themselves, with performances by one of the male members of the group (there are four just ‘plain’ boys in the show) and the older drag acts particularly enjoyable. As you leave the show, you will have either had the night of your life or feel cheated by the lack of actual talent on show. It really just depends on how drunk you are.

Reviews by Stewart McLaren

Online at www.DavidLeddy.com (with Traverse Theatre)

City Of the Blind

★★★
Northern Stage at King's Hall

Milk Presents: Self Service

★★★★
Scottish Storytelling Centre

Haggis Haggis Haggis

★★★
Institut français d'Ecosse

Antiquithon

★★★★
Traverse Theatre

RIVERRUN

★★

The Blurb

Edinburgh's biggest party is back! New spectacular costumes, songs and comedy. Fur coats and French knickers abound in a riot of fun and fantasy in this Fringe favourite.