Review by Carly Fisher
For those who like a bit of a tease, Boys in the Buff is here to serve. Produced by Lambco, who have four fringe shows in rep this year, Boys in the Buff is a fun, light hearted hour of feathers, glitter and…well…you can probably guess what the third thing I was going to list here is.
We are first introduced to our host for the evening, a role taken on by Lauren Wood. Wood has a strong alto voice that harmonises gorgeously with the otherwise all male-presenting cast, and a real command of the sultry hostess - her performance screams for a producer from Cabaret or Chicago to come and see what she can do. Wood makes the show in my opinion with a sexy but considered performance that really shows why she belongs in the limelight.
The chemistry between the cast is strong. This is a fun show for the audience but for the cast, it is actually quite a demanding role with abilities across a range of dance genres a requirement.
The songs written for the production are quite good, particularly the lyrics. The script between needs further development - it’s currently a bit too corny and not particularly well realised. The cast of men - Owen Dennis, Andrew Ewart, Sam Walter and David Heal - each have their moments to shine and their respective moments of weakness but it is Walter that stands out for me as the strongest vocalist. All four are completely committed to their roles though and for that, they are to be commended.
The lighting design is excellent. I was surprised by the quality of the lights in the little Masonic temple come C Arts Venue. Utilising the rig well led to beautiful moments of shadows and stunning light patterning. Some of the nicest lighting design I’ve seen at the fringe.
In the bathroom after the show, I heard a few complaints about how much of the show was a tease v. How much was actually ‘in the buff.’ Most of the show is spent clothed or ‘censored’ so for the more conservative amongst us, there is still opportunity for you to see the show - just close your eyes towards the end. Whilst I can’t say that this bothered me at all (in fact, the opposite, as I was glad to just be able to appreciate the skill of the performers, particularly as dancers), I can imagine that if you come here expecting Magic Mike, you will leave disappointed.
So, adjust those expectations and come in instead to see a cast of five giving their all, despite a relatively weak script, to really entertain you.
There’s not a huge amount that can be said about this one - go in with realistic expectations and support the cast and crew by having a good laugh and a loud clap throughout…I imagine it’s a lot easier to reveal all when you know its a supportive audience out there for you!