Grant Busé: The Birds and the Beats, Gilded Balloon Teviot (Venue 14) *****
With his luxurious locks, Aussie accent and musical talent, lazy comparisons to Tim Minchin are inevitable and Busé does acknowledge them, by which time we’ve all realised he’s his own, very talented, animal.
Speaking of which, did you know that after a drone honeybee has sex with a greedy queen – in flight, mind you – the act of pulling out snaps his penis off and he dies? That, and the importance of celery, are among the fascinating facts shared by Busé who, when not on stage, is teaching sex education to special needs kids. And the most important lesson? Informed consent.
Busé brilliantly segues into this aspect of his subject via a call and response sequence – “I say penis, you say vagina!” – his gold trainers constantly activating a beat maker which truly comes into its own during a song about animal sex (that’s sex between animals, not with, if you please).
Audience interaction includes a question and answer session, with Busé willing to answer any queries the adults-only patrons have, and an invitation to call out as many different types of sex as possible (kinky, BDSM, prison…). There’s no audience shaming, Busé has a real warmth and there’s genuine learning going on, on both sides of the stage.
Given the show starts at 11.45pm and Fringe audiences aren’t known to be shy of alcohol, there’s real potential for shocking comments, but Busé’s puppyish persona keeps everyone on best, if boisterous, behaviour.
The performance I was at did see one idiot ask something truly ignorant in a boringly blatant bid to shock, but Busé didn’t feed that troll, moving right along.
Educational, informative and entertaining, The Birds and the Beats is positively Reithian. Except the BBC’s first director general never did what Busé does with a microphone at the end of the show.
• Until 27 August, 11:45pm