Desperately Young at Heart

Venue:The Boards at The Edinburgh Playhouse

Dates:Aug5-8,10-13th,17th-22nd,24-29th

Ticket:£10/£8 concession

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helmut

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Jumping off the precipice and into the Fringe festival from Australia is a long shot if you have never been there before.Not so for this cabaret act fronted by Robert Hofmann whose inspiration is diverse but cites Barry Humphries’ Dame Edna Everage as a firm favourite. Edinburgh Fringe Festival has recently taken cabaret under its wing and although it is still early days in the longevity of its history Hoffman has found fertile ground to cross-pollinate his comedy and cabaret for years to come.His four personas are self referential depicting to hysterical excess his own upbringing. Prepare for meeting creator of the Worldwide Artistic Nations Conference Of Narcissistic Bitter Retired and/or Emerging Artists who Sometimes Teach Singing.

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Being half German gives him permission to psychoanalyze his audience in the character of Helmut Wunderlicker, a German psychologist who is also a singing coach. Wunderlicker plucks Peter, St.Peter from now on, from the audience to dance with him in a bizarre goat herd type dance which is followed up with ‘Here I am waiting like a lover’ routine which could have come from The Rocky Horror Show.Fair play to Peter who thrust his thrusts as agile like as a bloke from Blackpool could ever hope to achieve, giving it as much as Wunderlicker himself.

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Keeping up with Hoffman is easy as his classically trained baritone voice slips effortlessly to the soft spoken do good condescending ‘but only if you want to’ guitar playing Christian Liturgical singer Susan Higgins.This redhead takes no prisoners in her ‘every breath is a bonus’ which like her ‘do not be afraid Do not fear’ is so stereotypically Scottish social worker on a Sunday you’d be forgiven (with three hail mary’s and a glory be from Sister Maureen Virgillious) for thinking Hoffman had visited these shores before!

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When he goes behind the screen to change I couldn’t help thinking of the famous wedding night scene portrayed with such perfect comedy timing by Ricky Fulton many moons ago when the bride de- legs as well as de-robes behind the prop.Although soprano sniping singing teacher Dr.Kay Overitt emerges body intact she struts her stuff in sequence swishing sexually desperate style to much audience delight.I won’t give you a run down of her raucousness because she and her ‘practice based study on penile erectile dysfunction’ alone is worth far more than the ticket price. So also is the free cd chucked in to dance round the living room with your chums.

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One of three songs penned by Hoffman for this event ‘You are the Subject of my next sexual fantasy’ is reminiscent of kids movie title song’Help Im a fish’ (Terry Jones of Monty Python fame) It is one of such a diverse range of singing styles in this eclectic brand of cabaret that is sprinkled with hymns and miaow peppered opera- yes really!- making it uniquely Hofmann’s own.With audience members aged 8 to 80 this works, like Shrek, on several levels.His pianist partner Tommaso Pollio deserves a mention for being the brunt of fair whack of sexual innuendo.Director Stuart Maunder keeps Hoffman in check but is flexible enough to allow a bit of creative meandering so watch out Fringe Divas for your succinct hand mannerisms being copied with such perfection that you could recognize yourself if you come to see this spectacle. Set designer Cherie Hewson has an eye for a wig and knows where to place them for one of the funniest finales you will witness if you choose to see this highly recommended post modern and possibly post ironic pastiche. FOUR STARS

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four-stars

Reviewer : Clare Crines

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Posted on August 16, 2015, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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