hoyle head 

David Hoyle

Birmingham Rep Door

***

THE most dynamic feature of the Rep’s Cabaret XXL evening is not knowing exactly what you will get in the show each month

That premise might seem applicable too for anti-drag queen David Hoyle himself who may have a planned a start and ending but what comes in between seems to surprise him as much as the audience.

Dressed in an assortment of garments that are suitably mismatched his show is often surreal and at times pulverises the audience into attention but then disarms them with a casual remark or glance.

Growing up in Blackpool his homosexuality was a source of bullying and his mental state has at times suffered over the years with several breakdowns. Instead of hiding the fact he dissects societies fear and lack of consideration for mental health alongside berating and challenging the state, the monarchy and political autocracy.

At times it’s an onslaught of aggressive, yet thought provoking thinking yet intermingled with some casual and very funny amateur clairvoyant study of the audience members.

An interlude to paint an impressionistic portrait an audience member was nothing more than that but he then counters this with several personal renditions of well-known songs.

These are set to odd experimental backing tracks like one of the mechanical sounds of an MRI machine. It should not work but his timing and intense free delivery of the lyrics makes for a unique theatrical experience that is hard to categorise.

It is no surprise then that he does not like to have any video of his shows as the atmosphere he creates in the room is personal to the moment and again seems to be created as he goes along. This he believes makes any visual record, other than photographs, not fully representative of what happens within his performance.

No area of society is safe from his brutal scrutiny from the queen mother to the rich and the faceless captains of industry.    He urges his listeners to wake up to the reality of the system we are living in and abandon the stereotypes of race religion and gender.

It’s daring stuff and not everything works all of the time but the one thing it is not is predictable as his show is more of a personal statement rather than simple entertainment.

Jeff Grant

21-04-16

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