Little Johnny’s Big Gay Musical sure seems like it’s going to be an over-the-top musical extravaganza filled with innuendo and campiness. And though it does have some of these aspects, in actual fact it is an emotionally-geared musical confessional.
Johnny McKnight comes out with a large musical flourish and takes us on a trip down memory lane. Through both song and monologues, he tells us about his life and some of the moments that have shaped him, including a teenage health scare, past relationships and the Christmas dinner he wanted to come out of the closet to his family. It is always played with great humour and energy, and even the dramatic moments are told with a wink and a nudge.
The production is well staged, with an effective stage design and smooth direction. It has a classy band, who are already in full swing as the audience enter the theatre space, and a fun set that McKnight and co-singer Julie Brown jump around. The songs are all catchy and delightful, and the two lead performances, with a nice touch of camaraderie, are both a joy to watch.
Little Johnny is not a flamboyant stereotypical songfest but an intimate personal story that wants nothing more than to please. And with its slick direction, fun music numbers and great performances, it more than succeeds.
Originally written for Onstage Scotland.
Playing at the Pleasance Dome at 22.00 until August 30.
Filed under: Edinburgh Festival 2009 |