Review: Joe Sutherland: Sour @ PHB's Free Fringe at Banshee Labyrinth

As soon as you go into the cinema room to see Sour, you are confronted with a wave of nostalgia in the form of clips from Popstars: The Rivals, those weird dancing Marks & Spencers adverts, and the woman who threw a cat in a bin.

You might think this show was going to be a string of cultural references rather than a personal story about a complicated friendship with a classmate. Sutherland, of course, manages to do both in one show. He has a lovely way with words, describing a piece (or “slice”, or even “chunk”, if you will) of modern dance as “a quiet, sweaty play”. He pokes fun at so-called “good people”, emulating them by framing statements with the phrase “speaking as a mother…”, and points out a fatal flaw in the live-action remake of the Lion King: photorealistic arseholes.

An impression of a steam iron which morphs into a Glaswegian doing ASMR is a particular highlight, and there are enough of these brilliantly weird moments to punctuate the sometimes familiar material about growing up gay in Coventry. He really knows how to tell a tale, though; his beautifully articulated disappointment with the Spice Girls reunion tour concert, and musings on whether or not they are right-wing (they make the two northerners do all the work, after all), is poignant when juxtaposed with the reality that even the proudest of gays can end up making sad and unexpected political choices when they grow up.

Joe Sutherland: Sour, PBH Free Fringe @ Banshee Labyrinth, 3-25 Aug (not 12), 10.10pm

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