Boys In The Buff

Original Showing: Edinburgh Festival Fringe
Review By: Brian Merriman

Lambco Productions UK
C Arts, 2 Brodies Close, Edinburgh.
Duration: 60 minutes

Chris Burgess takes only a nod to the hit revue, ‘Naked Boys Singing’, but clearly makes this musical revue his own. His scintillating score lights up the stage with song after original song (additional songs by Cathy Shostak) in an hour-long burlesque whirlwind revue of showbiz arrangements, brilliantly sung and excellently staged by director/choreographer Robbie O’Reilly,

There is a plot to this revue. Diana (Lauren Wood) our MC packs a punch vocally with some slick song and dance routines with the boys, peppered with powerful torch songs. But it is her ‘boys’ Owen Dennis, Andrew Ewart, David Heal and Sam Walter’s singing, dancing, and stripping at a pace, that would make ‘The Full Monty’ blush breathlessly.

Though we are teased and titillated until the no holds barred naked finale, it is the story of the four lads and the strong theme of body shaming, that leaves you singing and dancing at the end. You meet the shy guy, the skinny one, the fat one and the exhibitionist - all who get an equal chance to reveal the impact of always thinking their body shape is inadequate, through adolescence and young adulthood.

These are meaningful tuneful numbers that cut out four distinct characters in an examination of male body image, that is such an important story to be told on a body image led commercial ‘gay scene’. 

The staging, lighting, tracks, arrangements (John Louis Robinson), colour, costumes and lack of them, all build up to a joyous celebration of what is good about being young and happy in one’s own skin, regardless of the perceived perfection of the competition around. 

There’s lots of comedy, excellent vocals and authentic showbiz staging in a very tiny space. Richard Lambert is a prolific producer in the field of ‘gay theatre’. His plays deal with many real issues (‘Tickle’, ‘Twinkle’ and ‘Love Is Blue’ are also running) and yet, he still can rock the house with a celebration of the male body, female led, and energetically performed by a talented cast, who clearly are ‘very happy in their own skin’.