Fruit Fly**** (Leicester Square Theatre, 12 March 2013)

Posted: March 14, 2013 in Theatre

This review was originally written for The Public Reviews: http://www.thepublicreviews.com

This is the second show by the diminutive Hollywood character actor turned raconteur/stand-up comic, Leslie Jordan, following My Trip Down the Pink Carpet a couple of years ago. The evening begins with a 30-minute “warm-up” by The Supreme Fabulettes, a drag trio who treat the audience to renditions of 60s Motown classics with a little Amy Winehouse and Adele thrown in. This is passable and a drag routine is entirely compatible with what is to follow, but it is difficult to see why a supporting act was deemed necessary when Jordan’s 90 minutes on stage gives full value for money. The central character in this routine is Jordan’s mother (“do gay men really become their mothers?” he asks), as he tells of his early life in Chattanooga, Tennessee and the outrageous excesses of his teenage years in the Deep South of America. An effeminate child and an openly gay young man, he was always at odds with the traditional values of the Bible Belt, but this is never a story of repression and discrimination. Jordan does not question or regret who he is, he simply accepts it, which makes the overall message totally positive and optimistic. It is also very, very funny. Jordan’s style is relaxed and self-deprecating, he strides from one side of the stage to the other, rarely standing still, a small bundle of mischief, naughty but nice. Using old family photographs as points of reference, he sometimes appears uncertain as to the extent to which he has embellished his stories, but it becomes clear that this is an actor who has learned his lines well and any apparent lapses in concentration are in fact well rehearsed. The show is full of the expected camp one-liners and acid observations, but what sets it apart from and above most others of its kind is that it has real heart and warmth. A treat.

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