Edinburgh Fringe Festival
Underbelly George Square (Udderbelly), Venue 300 – until August 29th 2022
When you enter the Udderbelly, it feels like you are suddenly back in your Nan’s best room, there is a chair, a cabinet (my Nan called her’s a sideboard) and a chest of drawers. Photo’s adorn the cabinet of a child who is clearly loved and adored by their family.
And then Rob Madge enters, dressed in their homemade Tinkerbell outfit complete with wings, we have a confetti filled song of welcome.
There is a video player and Rob takes us back to their childhood and the homemade video’s of when they wrote, produced, directed and starred in Disney parades in their, and other members of their family’s, home. There is no doubt Rob was a flamboyant child and their parents went with it, encouraging their talent, enrolling them in Stagecoach which helped them on their way to being a child star in Mary Poppins and Les Miserables amongst others. But Rob wanted to dress up at school and would rather be in the dressing up corner at break time than outside with the other children, who didn’t understand them and so beat them up. A particularly insensitive teacher suggested that if they dressed up less they might make more friends and for a while their spark was snuffed out.
Thankfully, with lots of love and a family who would clearly do anything for them, their light began to burn bright again.
There is a lot of honesty in this production, Rob tells us all about their first crush on the star of the play about the Pied Piper at Stagecoach, about wanting to be Belle after his dad bought him the Beast outfit and about finding their way.
This coming of age biopic is truly a thing of beauty, its life affirming and will leave you crying like a baby. Quite frankly the entire show needs to be shown in schools to educate both the children and the teachers. Children aren’t their to be squeezed into genders and pre-formed assumptions, they are there to be to singular, glorious individuals like Rob and should be applauded as such.
If you only see one show at the Fringe this year – this is the one you must see.
Fingers crossed it tours