Paul T Davies reviews Skin Deep the musical at the Gilded Balloon at Edinburgh Fringe
Subtitled the Body Image Musical, this show is a very good celebration of us, of every body. In a time of an overwhelming culture of what constitutes perfection, the musical takes steps to subvert that perfection. The book and music by Chris Burgess is witty, especially lyrically, although the links are massively cheesy with some groan inducing jokes!
Diana, the excellent Shani Cantor, and her boys, Aaron Blackburn, Nick Brittain, William Fozer and Shaun Ruddock, discuss what they hate about their bodies and appearance. They are a terrific ensemble, with excellent comedy timing and belting out the tunes. From the song My Foreskin and Me onwards, each number tops the one before until we arrive at the “climax”- a nude selfie! Other highlights include streaking at a football game and Favourite Thong song!
Although the characters are mainly stereotypes, they do present a fun way into looking at the issues, and this is a show full of heart and humour. Of course, to me, and I suspect, the audience, they all look great, especially as they are dancers and the choreography by director Robbie O’Reilly emphasises their skills very well. But that’s the point of the piece, it’s not what other people see, it’s what we see. Inadvertently, I booked for the “clothing optional” performance, where the audience could strip. So I did. And it did feel liberating. If a little cold!