The show began fashionably late – as every self-respecting cabaret should. That only added to the audience’s feverish anticipation for it as Dive! is quickly becoming an institution in Edinburgh’s LGBTI+ nightlife.
When compere Miss Annabel Sings opened the show, she capitalised on that buzz and stoked it further. She was a superb ringmistress for her circus, and she also proved to at various points to be a fine chanteuse, comedienne and dancer.
The first performer was the glamorous drag artiste Alice Rabbit who made an unforgettable entrance with her HUGE hair, a little black dress and ripped fishnets by climbing up on stage carrying a can of Tennants Lager and performing a sassy, but fun dance number with a bizarre backing laughter track – a track which I found a little too unnerving.
The next act, Supersonic made an indelible mark on the audience, particularly one young woman opposite me, as the poor lass was poorless with laughter – and boy, did Supersonic capitalise on that all the way through his very quirky routine which involved mimicry and a tennis ball attached to a microphone. The act wasn’t quite my cup of tea, but watching that girl giggling uncontrollably made it one of the stand-out performances for me.
Following that was the exceedingly funny and charismatic US stand-up comic Desiree Burch, who had me – and everyone else – in hoots of laughter with her very raw and lewd sketch.
Frank Sanazi then crooned a few warped alternative versions of Sinatra’s hits, most pointedly ‘Strangers on Mein Flight’, which drolly details that awkward moment when one dangerous extremist bigot potentially encounters a rival dangerous extremist bigot while travelling in an aeroplane. It both greatly amused and horrified the very engaged audience.
The stand-out act was the spectacular piece of gymnastic burlesque performance art by Skinny Redhead that incorporated everything that can be so quixotic, thematically provocative and empowering about great cabaret. Her piece also had a wonderful, clear and dynamic story, too. I do not want to spoil it, but all I will say is that involves a wedding gown, a gymnasts ring, lots of rope and some of the most beguiling acrobatic dance moves.
The final act was somewhat of a let-down, perhaps due to the highpoint of the previous performer, but statuesque drag performer Cybil Partnership did their utmost to better it, I did love their back-up singers – animated Grindr profile pictures, though.
Over all, it was a very good event, but its main flaw was the disjointed running order, rather than any of the talented acts themselves.
DIVE! is on at Summerhall each Tuesday of the Fringe (the 18th and the 25th at 20.00 to 21.30, and is followed by an after party) with a different line-up. They’re also hosting an event on Friday 14th August called Butt-Plugged Party this between 23.00 and 3.00.