Blowhole | Edinburgh Fringe comedy review
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Edinburgh Fringe comedy review

This show is so much better than its poster and blurb that someone should be taken out and spanked.  I went in with gritted teeth and prepared to be appalled; in fact, it was endearing.

This is a play, a one-man show and it is a theatre listing that can comfortably sneak into comedy.  It actually has production values and a visually interesting, if underused, set. The raised circle is covered with bits and bobs like a messy bedroom, but dominated by a lavatory, that becomes his refuge, confessional and recreational.

The overall effect is of seeing a young man at the centre of his chaotic, skewed world littered with Greggs wrappers.

The story opens with Ben Salmon, the writer and performer, hopping on to the platform (I even thought it might revolve, but no) and plonking himself down on the work lavatory to start sexting a potential hook-up, ‘Daddy’.

Salmon really does people the stage with types, the beastly, snobbish journalist Cosmo, the frightful yoga guru Star, the lovely but remote Mark, and the posh himbo that is Laurence.

There are trigger warnings all over the show about strong language and sexual content, but my takeaway the was that this was a tender story of a young man looking for love, still an anxious virgin, missing his dad and engulfed by a mouthy mum and Auntie Val.   His portrayal of the tension of being the younger, more broke one in an unequal relationship absolutely rang true, when so much is about being twinkly and image conscious.

Salmon delivered his witty-slash-bitchy-camp observations in a voice that is, in my world, rarely heard outside the hairdressers. His Princess Diana eyelash-batting coyness became a bit repetitive, but he reflected recurrent scenarios of flirting and rejection, reaching out and being knocked back.

He’s an affecting performer, even when it is this light-hearted, illustrating the sheer pain of being deemed not good enough for the fourth-floor orgy.

It makes you long for a happy ending – no, not in that way –  for his story.  There are some shout-out-loud laughing lines, and a streak of pathos in what feels like a true story from an engaging performer.

Review date: 12 Aug 2023
Reviewed by: Julia Chamberlain
Reviewed at: Pleasance Dome

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