The Prima Party Scrapbook

The Prima Party Scrapbook is a triumph for Fringe newcomers Tops and Tales, and particularly for one-man party Matthew Squance. This solo show recounts hilarious and heartfelt stories from the scrapbook of his life, and in particular, from a single night in London during which he went 'way past his limits' and became the monster he characterises as the 'party prima'. True to its name, the show presents a number of vivid but disjointed stories in a crafty, hands-on style, requiring wigs, balloons, glowsticks, a fishnet vest, and plenty of audience participation.

The setting of The Prima Party Scrapbook in the Apex International Hotel is wonderfully incongruous; a camp be-wigged man leaping about, playing guitar and bursting balloons while an audience do their best impressions of 'mum dancing' is probably not a sight seen here often.

There are multiple laugh-out-loud moments from Squance, including a ten-minute recitation of a weed-fuelled conversation he had during his 'party prima' night, which he does while wearing a pork-pie hat with a bong protruding from its crown. Squance is also brilliantly understated – as understated as you can be whilst wearing leggings, fluorescent sunglasses, and claiming to be a Somali pirate. He may be a 'prima', but he's not a diva, and this performance is more like a chat over a cuppa at times.

The genius of this show lies in the fact that Squance, though admittedly shameless (baring a pair of luminous green boxer briefs on more than one occasion), creates an atmosphere of comfort and trust from the outset, encouraging the audience to blow bubbles and to pass the bubble wands amongst themselves before the show has even begun. Even his tech team from Tops and Tales, Sam and Mike, join in with him on occasion.

Most British people would shudder or vomit upon hearing the phrase 'audience participation'. But none of Squance's audience seemed remotely reluctant to join in with his own choreography to Irene Cara's classic 'Flashdance... What a Feeling!'. If you are one of those people who heads straight to the back row for fear of catching the eye of the performer and consequently being thrust onto the stage, I urge you to go straight to The Prima Party Scrapbook and be converted. You'll be up dancing in no time.

Squance is a performer I expect we will be seeing a lot more of, especially if he keeps his mate Sam's mad tambourine skills on board.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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Performances

The Blurb

Matthew is a good man. He doesn't drink, take drugs or indulge in excessive behaviour, but when partying threatens his innocence, pink sharks, Polaroids and mind-altering substances place him on a wild journey of self-discovery.

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