Ed Fringe, Assembly Festival
22:20 until Aug 25th
Five minutes into Séayoncé, I find myself hoping for it to last longer than the ticket promises, or at least for time to stretch out so we get to spend a little longer in this raucous salvo of punchlines.
She appears as if from nowhere to start her solo performance, her shiny costume flowing along with the jokes. Séayoncé is a spiritualist, one with the power to see our darkest secrets and reveal all with the help of the dead. Unfortunately, she’s got some ex issues – with William Shakespeare, and the Devil himself.
This setup is mostly a flimsy vehicle for the humour, which bounces between puns and crude physical comedy but mostly balances on a sharp edge of wit. Targets include horny straight men, people called Barbara, and a specific dog-owner picked from the audience. None of them are given much mercy.
The lighting does an incredible amount of legwork to differentiate between Séyoncé’s different personas, and to Daniel Wye’s credit not a single beat is missed in the rapid transitions. Hilarious use is made, too, of an easel which various ghosts and spirits use to communicate with us throughout the night.
With all the laughter, there are more reflective parts. They arrive suddenly, with no fanfare, as Séayoncé’s self-doubt about the morality of her spiritual practice develops into a metaphor for internalised homophobia. The silence and sadness, after a long run of confident twists, leave us aching for all that Séayoncé has suffered.
But not for too long. Soon we’re joining in a rousing singalong, and Séayoncé is back to her ebullient self, having raised a few spirits along the way.
© A. Lewis 2019
Image © Alex Brenner