No Edinburgh Fringe is complete without the inclusion of the Lady Boys, who return to their Sabai Pavilion home on The Meadows for another season with a new production, Glamorous Amorous. However despite the show’s fresh moniker and some original frocks, it’s pretty much the same show as previous years.
Their perennial appearances almost guarantee them a crowd though, albeit predominantly of the hen party variety. 16 Lady Boys plus four comics take on some of the biggest divas in rock and pop and lip sync their way through a parade of hits which boom out across the Pavilion. This year see’s the likes of Girls Aloud, Dame Shirley Bassey, the late Whitney Houston, Donna Summer and Lady Gaga all given a good airing in familiar Lady Boy style.
To allow costume changes, each set piece is intercut with a comedy sketch from the character of Sak, who is more traditional drag than Lady Boy, but he alone injects emotion into the evening with ‘I Did It My Way’, starting the number as Shirley Bassey and finishing as Frank Sinatra. There is also good use of male dancers to alleviate over our exposure to ostrich feathers, but the addition of a dwarf performer paying tribute to Roy Chubby Brown really is a bit of a low point of the show.
It’s easy to forget these gals are really guys, from a culture where having something extra barely raises an eyelash. Their gorgeous curves belie what’s hidden below but it’s sometimes at odds with the self-deprecating humour played out at their expense. The sexual objectification occasionally making me think we’d slipped back to the 70s.
At the core of the show is a good solid two hour cabaret of spectacular costumes and fast paced dance routines. It’ll undeniably please the hen parties and work-night-out groups and I’ll admit I enjoy a glitzy floor show as much as the next man, but the seemingly relentless drive to extract more money from the audience could be played down. Bottom line is the Lady Boys are well polished at this niche, and if that’s the kind of entertainment you’re looking for then none do it better.