Make-Up

August 21, 2022 | By More

★★★★☆     Intimate

Underbelly, George Square (Venue 300): Wed 3 – Mon 29 Aug 2022
Review by Hugh Simpson

Make-Up, from NoLogo Productions at the Underbelly Wee Coo in George Square, is a disarmingly truthful and humorous piece, adroitly constructed and beautifully performed.

Writer-director Andy Moseley’s one-hander features Chris and his drag alter-ego Lady Christina, backstage after a performance above a pub in his home town of Wolverhampton, musing on the changes in the world of drag, and on his background.

Moj Taylor in Make-Up. Pic: Siobhan.

It is an extremely well-constructed piece, with information about Chris’s relationship with his parents, and his struggles during the unlamented days of Section 28, being released at just the right pace.

Furthermore, there is a pleasing ambivalence about much of it. Chris objects to RuPaul’s Drag Race, with its ‘X-Factorisation’ of drag, encouraging over-glamorous lip-synching and the empty pursuit of fame, which may have popularised the form but has replaced what he considers a more ‘real’, more underground art form.

These objections, like much of what the character has to say about his background, questions of identity and the level of tolerance generally in society, are couched in a subtle way that never preaches. This only reinforces the truthfulness of the character.

skilled

Which is done full justice by the excellent Moj Taylor as Chris. He is skilled at both humour and pathos, prickly yet inviting, welcoming the audience into his world yet always keeping a distance. A tiny acting space is used very well by Taylor and Moseley, leading to an intimacy that is never oppressive.

This is despite a less than kind venue. Much was said during the hiatus about how the Fringe would ‘reinvent itself’, yet all of the problems from before are back, even magnified. A small-scale, low-key production such as this suffers greatly from being staged in what is effectively a shed in a beer garden. Noise from outside fights with noise from inside, with audience members – like so many this year – who seem incapable of turning their phones off.

That Taylor can overcome such handicaps is testament to his skill and the quality of the material.

Running time: One hour (no interval)
Underbelly George Square (Wee Coo), George Sq, EH8 9LH (venue 300)
Wednesday 3 – Monday 29 August 2022 (not Mon 15)
Daily (not Mon 15): 13:.20
Information and tickets: Book here.

Company website: https://www.nologoproductions.com
Facebook: @NoLogoProductions
Instagram: @nologoproductions
Twitter: @NoLogoPlays

ENDS

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