Don’t Frighten the Straights

Aug 28 2019 | By More

★★★☆☆      Homo-ironic storytelling

Paradise in Augustines (Venue 152): Sat 3 – Sun 25 Aug 2019
Review by Federica Balbi

Turan Ali is a great storyteller. Maybe too good – when he told his partner that he wanted to do a show about ʻwhat gay men really get up toʼ, the reply was, well, Don’t frighten the straights…

Each night, Ali chooses four out of a suite of 40 stories. The BBC producer says he has had enough of the usual tropes surrounding tales with gay protagonists – beatings and discrimination, impossible loves and suicides. Instead, he lampoons daily facts, conflicts and weird encounters of gay life in a show which is halfway between stand-up comedy and storytelling.

Turan Ali. Pic: Turan Ali

These are stories from Ali’s own experiences and that of his friends. ʻGay factsʼ are presented with light-hearted, self-effacing honesty. Between stories, a refrain plays: a line from Ruth Wallis’s Queer Things which echoes the tone of what has just been related and what is coming next.

The stories are mainly based on embarrassing situations produced by the contrast with straight people or with people who don’t accept homosexuality. Travels, misunderstandings and unusual requests always lead to funny situations, which grow in a climax until the final joke.

mutual confidence

From the start, Ali talks to the audience as if they were his friends, creating a pleasant environment of mutual confidence. His voice catches the attention and carries the story, but sometimes it is too calm to produce those laughs his jokes deserve.

The fresh and lively narratives of this show have a double merit. On the one hand, they can bring a straight audience closer to a queer life, by seeing it in close-up and showing its every day normality. On the other, the characters ask the audience not to take them too seriously and, by being the first to laugh at themselves, allow us to laugh with them.

Running time: 1 hour (no interval)
Paradise in Augustines (Venue 152), 41 George IV Bridge, EH1 1EL
Saturday 3 – Sunday 25 August 2019 (not 11th or 18th)
Daily, not Sun 11, Sun 18: 9.55 pm
Tickets and details:
Company website:
Instagram: @ukturanali
Twitter: @UKTuranAli


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