Saturday, January 28

Christian Brighty: Playboy – Pleasance Below

I wasn’t sure what to expect as I sat down to watch Christian Brighty: Playboy. I’d read the synopsis, a scandalous Lord in the 18th century falls for a duchess and must try and reform his rakish ways to win her hand. And I’d seen the poster, Lord Christian Brighty standing with an enormous padlock covering his crotch. But other than that, I was clueless. I thought I was in for something special when I was handed a ball of socks at the door and told it was a cannonball. If the audience weren’t aware of exactly what they’d got themselves into, it became apparent very quickly. Brighty entered covered in a hood as the sounds of an orgy played throughout the venue. He tells ‘naughty Susan’, a recurring character in the sketch, that he must sadly leave. I haven’t seen many a funnier start to a show, nor one that set the tone for the entire performance more perfectly.  The hood comes off, Brighty reveals himself in his full glory, and immediately begins to rip into the audience. I was struck by how much of this show must be improvised as he nicknamed an audience member ‘budget Rapunzel’. The abuse quickly turns to flirting as he is, very literally, struck by Cupid’s endless arrows. On a side note, the set was used incredibly well and to great comedic effect. A board painted with Cupid’s took centre stage, and dozens of arrows shot out from behind it when Brighty falls in lust, not love, with the entire audience.

Brighty simply oozes charisma. His confident performance and excellent comedic timing meant that even his most outrageous jokes, of which there were many, were taken in good spirit. In less talented hands certain gags, which I won’t spoil, could have come across as too outrageous. But Brighty is just too charming to resist, the true embodiment of the character he’s playing. That being said, I wouldn’t recommend this show to anyone who’s prudish in nature. There’s one particularly memorable scene in which he must blow up his chastity belt, the padlock from the poster, using a stick of dynamite. The dynamite stick was placed in the padlock, very obviously representing an erect penis. An audience member, who had earlier in the show been made to paint a portrait of Brighty, now had to stand behind him and twist the dynamite stick until confetti burst out the end. If that would offend you, I wouldn’t recommend this. But if, like myself and the rest of the audience, you find this hysterical, then there is plenty more to keep you entertained.

There are far too many highlights in Playboy for me to mention, and I don’t want to spoil the surprise. So, I will simply say that it is the show in the Edinburgh Fringe that I have laughed most at, and I would happily go again. If you have an open mind, and don’t mind a bit of vulgarity, this really is a highlight.

Playing until 28th August. Further details and tickets can be found HERE.

Reviewer: Ben Pearson

Reviewed: 8th August 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★