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Review: Welcome to the Big Show at Summerhall – Demonstration Room - Ed Fringe

Review by Kate Gaul

One thing that you can’t escape in Edinburgh is stand-up comedy. It’s everywhere. So, I thought I should go check some out. “Welcome to the Big Show” isn’t the kind of comedy where some guy pulls you off the street into a bar promising big laughs. I’d describe this event as arty comedy. “Welcome to the Big Show” is performed by reformed stand-up comedian Gara Lonning and is advertised as a “love letter to unique families, queer self-discovery and devoted fathers”.

What we get is some excellent lip synching, sensational dancing, interpretive movement, and verbal story telling. Yes, there are jokes too. On further investigation I discover Gara is known for dance-based performance art. He also works as a writer, comedian, and podcast maker. This show trawls through some family relationship stuff like the jealousy for his twin brother’s prowess as a principal in high school musical theatre while Gara was relegated to townsperson; admiration for his father who amongst other things was an amateur wrestling coach; and a mother who Gara clearly doesn’t like much. We are taken on a tour of the American Midwest to NYC, through 1970s cinema, male song writing, the 80s and (my favorite) John Cougar Mellencamp’s “Jack and Dianne”. Who says nostalgia is dead?

A little ditty 'bout Jack & Diane Two American kids growing up in the heart land Jack, he's gonna be a football star Diane's debutante, back seat of Jacky's car.

We were a small house; we could have exchanged phone numbers. Gara was gracious and gave it everything. Talented, engaging and cool. Get along and check out what the cool kids from NYC are doing!

Image Supplied


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