Thursday, February 22

Lizard Boy – Gilded Balloon

The premise of ‘Lizard Boy’ is certainly unconventional. Trevor is a 20 something who, as a result of a childhood run-in with a dragon, is covered in green lizard scales and has shut himself off from the World. However, on ‘Monster Fest’, he decides to venture out of his isolation and meet up with a guy he met on Grindr. Things escalate very, very quickly from there.

There are many factors contributing to how, somehow, this show works, one of which is the extraordinary talent on stage. All three performers I saw had insane vocal and instrumental talent (This is an actor-musician show), being able to cover the reasonably wide range of styles and tones that the score covers. They were all also able to imbue their characters, who could have so easily been played as one-note cartoons, with so much nuance that you couldn’t help but root for and against whoever you’re supposed to.

The charm of the performance is only enhanced by the charm of the design. This seemed to me to be quite an ambitious show to take to the Fringe, given the limitations on design inherent to the venues and scheduling. However, every inch of stage, every prop, every aspect of the soundscape of the show, is used in such an effective way, giving rise to a design that manages to represent both the small- and large-scale aspects of this plot. 

The highlight of the show for me was the music. I am an absolute sucker for a rock score, so I pretty much fell in love with it immediately (I am also a sucker for kazoos, so that helped as well). In addition to just being a jam, on the face of it, this does not seem like a plot that would ever be considered the basis of a musical. However, what was so extraordinary about the songs for me was that they fit so well into this story, to the level that I cannot imagine this story being anything other than a musical.

Granted, the show is not perfect. The ending arguably moves too fast, and the show could do with being somewhere between 10 and 30 minutes longer. However, ‘Lizard Boy’ epitomises everything that excites me about modern musical theatre. It’s ambitious and weird and a joy and an absolute bop. Highly, highly recommended for anyone.

Lizard Boy is in Edinburgh until 28th August. Full details and tickets can be found HERE.

Reviewer: Ella Catherall

Reviewed: 7th August 2022

North West End UK Rating: ★★★★