Mawaan Rizwan: Gender Neutral Concubine Pirate



LaughingHorse@DropKickMurphys (Venue 289)

5-28 Aug (not 15)



Deep under the streets of Edinburgh, in a cavern obscured by the rotting vegetation of a fortnight’s flyers there is a gender neutral concubine pirate treasure. They are precious, multi-faceted and sparkling in a cave just waiting to be discovered by the passersby above.

Maawan is mesmerising and enchanting, exotic, playful and sexy. They begin with the line “It’s Free Fringe, time to lower your expectations” but unnecessarily. Their antics and energy transcend this hidden cellar and like Peter Pan they take our hand and lead us to somewhere magical, where we can all be gender neutral concubine pirates together if we want.

Their obscure bizarre impressions are charming and then as they weave them together into a burlesque dance, we catch a glimpse that this is the most astute of non-binary jesters. We are being led exactly where they want us to go and regardless of the distractions of baby wipes, dad-heckling or even R Kelly’s Ignition Remix (or even the horror of the original), the magic will happen and the wooden panels on the concave ceiling becomes the upside-down hull of our fantasy gender neutral concubine pirate ship, as our Captain engages in their final alluring dance.

I absolutely loved this. I knew it was going to be special as I’d seen Mawaan guest spot at Pollyanna. Some others in the audience seemed to expect something more mainstream. It felt like a cold start but Mawaan soon had them on side. I did find myself thinking where the hell are our people, why aren’t they rushing to see this comedic queer shaman?

A few little production values would have helped to create even more of a structured atmosphere and increased bucket takings. One thing that I was increasingly frustrated with was 3 members of the venue’s staff talking at the end of the bar for the entire performance. Very  rude and disrespectful.

Nothing phased Maawan though and I have immense respect and affection for this act. Go see it yourselves and get in on one of the best secrets of this year’s Fringe.