The Disney Delusion | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review
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The Disney Delusion

Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

It requires quite some storytelling chops to take the events of one drunken night and spin them out into a full hour, with the audience still hanging on every twist and turn.

Leif Oleson-Cormack’s anecdote is essentially that he had a crush on a friend who probably didn’t like him back, but he wasn’t sure. On what was intended as a trip to Disneyland to seal the deal, they ended up at a nightclub where he tried to get off with his mate. But it didn’t work out, and they ended up wasted in someone else’s hotel bedroom before staggering out into the morning light.

It’s definitely a bad night out, made stranger by the characters they meet. And although their night does not collapse into Hunter S Thompson layers of chaos, Oleson-Cormack fills his accounts with incidents and drama.

Our storyteller has a touch of Modern Family’s Mitchell about him, in being an eloquent redhead, sometimes prone to moments of unselfawareness – and into men. At the time of the story, he’d only recently come out as bisexual, an act that was supposed to have his gay pal, Arthur, swooning at his feet and soon afterwards become the first man he slept with. Hence, after much mixed-messaging flirting, the plan for the Californian getaway to try to make it so.

The spoke inserted into the wheels of Oleson-Cormack’s plan came in the form of a free-spending sugar daddy, a wealthy surgeon who they met on the night in question, which just happened to be the same night Obama was announced as America’s 44th president.

Armed with a wad of banknotes, he persuades the pair to go with him to a near-empty nightclub, where they encounter a Frank Sinatra impersonator and a hunky Australian barman, all of whom conspire to sabotage the hook-up Oleson-Cormack was so hoping for.

The charming Canadian comic fills his account with detail, some of it superfluous, but always smileworthy, if not laugh-out-loud – and enough to flesh out the slow-burn anecdote into the required hour. Even if incidents like those he describes probably happen in Edinburgh nightclubs every night of the week, it builds to a rewarding payoff.

No one emerges from the story with much dignity, including the self-effacing Oleson-Cormack himself, as selfishness and instant gratification lead to bad decisions all around. Arthur acts increasingly like an asshole, too, and the night ends in shame and regret. 

Still Oleson-Cormack keeps the audience onside, perhaps because of the naivety of his plans and the willingness to share and own his mistakes. He’s hapless, rather than a scheming mastermind - and that’s probably why it all ends in such ignominy. Still, we can all laugh at it now…

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Review date: 8 Aug 2023
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett
Reviewed at: Underbelly Bristo Square

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