Cabaret & Variety review: Pollyanna

Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Everyone has their own idea of transgressive fun. For some people, it's running through fields of wheat.

Every day is dress-down day for drag artist Pollyfilla, who host late-night queer cabaret Pollyanna. Picture: Andrew Perry.

Paradise Palms (Venue 411)


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For others, it’s dressing up as Theresa May to host a rerun of the general election involving airborne Weetabix, crowdsurfing and political emblems secreted around and within various parts of the body.

If you think you might lean more towards the latter, then you could do a lot worse than swing by Pollyanna, the late-night queer cabaret showcase that runs Sundays to Thursdays.

Now in its third year, Pollyanna is hosted by alternative drag act Pollyfilla – alternative, in this case, taking the sartorial form of ratty fake fur jacket, rattier, faker wig, fishnets, jockstrap and bovver boots. In addition to giving her best Theresa May, Pollyfilla introduces the night’s acts, including Pollyanna regular Desert Storm, channelling a lovelorn 80s vibe with the help of romantic self-help advice, sharply-shoulder-padded red leather, geometric dance moves and Kylie Minogue. Other acts on the night I attended included Georgia Tasda (geddit?) performing as an absurd mix of cosmic club kid and northern stand-up, looking like a cross between Leigh Bowery and Pinhead from Hellraiser while delivering groanworthy intergalactic gags: “For my holidays I went to Orion’s belt. It’s a three-star resort.”

Each night also showcases guest acts from suitably offbeat shows around the Fringe, such as the grotesque escapades of Natalie Palmides’s cod-Victorian urchin family and the roof-raising disco stylings of character chanteuse Diane Chorley. It’s packed and noisy, rowdy and messy, queerly experimental and reassuringly different – a welcome reminder that the Fringe is not only the place to catch a hot ticket or see a famous face but also to take a chance on the weird, the wild and the Weetabix, and then keep on dancing.

Until 24 August. Today 11pm.