Just The Tonic @ The Mash House (Venue 288)
Aug 4-28 (not 9,14,15,16,23)
It is a very unfortunate reality at the Fringe that despite best efforts there will sometimes be an evening’s performance that fate does not smile kindly upon and numbers areinexplicably low. This is not the fault of the act per se and is usually excluded from any review.
I think if a performer can walk into a room, see less than a handful of people and still go on to entertain, they get points for being a fucking pro. Scarlet Sohandsome is such a pro that when faced with 4 people as an audience on this fateful evening, 50% of whom are her parents, she still marches straight ahead.
What follows is a top-class on-point example of a drag stand-up comedian. Phased by nothing, she gets to know her audience by name (at least the two she’s not the genetic product of). She then asks probing questions. “Zander, what are you passionate about?” to which I reply “anal”. “Well it’s going to be hard to top that!” comes the immediate retort.
Nothing phases her. She’s from Salford. With a healthy mix of caring and cunty she personifies that drag ability to question societal norms and expectations with a razor-sharp serpent’s tongue. She keeps us laughing hard and often, from sheer delight and there’s no awkwardness to it. Her observational humour is on a par with her character material and she is a dark delight.
There are two guest spots for visiting acts and they’re passable on this night but seem out of keeping with Scarlet. I want acts of the same class and calibre, queer caustic and cutting. I want to need to see their show, not be quietly grateful when their 10 minutes are over. The lads in t-shirts telling pub puns are no doubt lovely people but they are so out of their depth here, especially with a panel of 4 audience members.
Chatting to her afterward, Scarlet tells us this is run is effectively a workshop for a solo show next year. I’ll be on the lookout for that, because that show is one I really want to see. Does that convey how good she is? I’m genuinely going to be chomping at the bit to see her in 2017. But the show overall as it is, rates a 3.
Go see her while she’s here, get a taste for her. And she’ll be glad of the company.