Jason Wood: Bare Camp
Show type: Edinburgh Fringe 2002
The distinctive show, which has evolved from Jason's years on the gay cabaret circuit, comprises autobiographical stories and anecdotes as well as astonishingly accurate musical impressions, from Gabrielle to Pavarotti.
Wood's engaging style is to affectionately mock everything - from the audience to the (usually erstwhile) pop stars he so effectively mimics.
Alison Moyet, Gabrielle and Johnny Mathis - to each new impression, the audience responds as if at a recording of Stars in Their Eyes, erupting into applause on recognising the first few bars of each song.
He demonstrated his vocal range with takes on Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand, a drunk David Gray and an unimaginatively camp Shaggy singing Mr Bombastic.
Wood belts them all out with an incredibly powerful voice - which can easily be heard in the Pleasance Courtyard - and executes his occasionally dated repertoire with panache.
He employs a couple of sidekicks in the form of a half-naked boy and a dowdy, greasy-haired hostess. Their raison d'etre was somewhat mystifying, although they were keen to help Wood promote a certain imported lager that shall remain nameless - a repetitive plugging detracted from the show and interfered with its smooth flow.
Jason sounds like Graham Norton and looks like Dale Winton and is as conventionally camp as such a combination would lead you to imagine.
The audience also seem happy to conform to type by their uproarious response to his overtly camp delivery.
Wood protests that he is not a cabaret act - but he is only fooling himself. He is not part, not most, but all cabaret - and that is the bare truth.
But it would be welcome to see this accomplished entertainer move out of his clichéd comfort zone and into more challenging work that he is clearly capable of.
Trev Sinclair - 24/08/2002
He plays an audience wonderfully with perfect timing and impressive comic skill. He may not 'tell jokes' in the classical sense but his show has been one of the comic highlights of Edinburgh 2002.