In its truest form, burlesque is satirical, even political: a fact that is often lost amongst all the feather boas and sparkly g-strings that have become so ubiquitous of late. Luckily we have Spencer Maybe to remind us of burlesque’s real roots.
Maybe is a man on a mission. Indeed, he has been called by God’s messenger to help save the planet, despite his distinct lack of qualifications. Here he uses three characters to deliver his message. Jake Wellington is an earnest protest singer calling for an uprising of green activists. Later the Devil emerges to tempt us with all the pleasures of the flesh. And finally we meet an insecure God planning to stage a comeback.
The Last Trilogy is well balanced between these three characters. Jake Wellington’s impassioned protest songs are delivered with a cheeky wink and a healthy dose of self-awareness. The Devil offers that rarest of boy-lesque commodities: a striptease which is not comic nor attempting to challenge gender stereotypes, but is just genuinely sexy. And God’s dance number is one of the most witty, intelligent routines you will ever see.
Zoo Southside’s cabaret bar provides the perfect space for this intimate show, giving Maybe plenty of scope to interact with his audience. His original songs are uniformly excellent and performed with huge charisma and genuine talent. Indeed, it is Spencer Maybe’s magnetic stage presence which holds this show together as much as any framing concept.
The Fringe’s introduction of a separate category for cabaret has been a hot topic this year, but Spencer Maybe is already redefining the genre.
5- 28 Aug (not 9, 16, 23) 2045 (2145) @ Zoo Southside