Comedy review: Phil Dunning: The House of Pigs

Edinburgh Festival Fringe: Welcome to the House of Pigs, a renowned if down-at-heel cabaret bar threatened with closure to make way for yet another chain pub.

Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33)

***

This sad situation brings consternation to the venue’s staff and the “multitude of world-famous variety acts” who tread its boards – a mixed bag of a dozen or so bizarro performers, each played in a different wig by Phil Dunning. There’s Sonia Jackson, the assistant front-of-house supervisor with implausible memories of childhood stardom; Fat Roy, the unreconstructed stand-up for whom political incorrectness and gastric mishap go hand in hand; Magic Lisa, an ever so underwhelming conjuror; a bevy of more or less deluded chanteuses, and many more.

Dunning’s style is campy, knowing, wild-eyed and surreal, buoyed by ceaseless energy, sinuous physicality, tremulous vocal renditions and a deep attachment to the bathetically grotesque. Preposterous parodies of American pop culture – from Disney romance and Moulin Rouge to frat-boy homoerotica – alternate with a kind of affectionate freakshow tour of the British regions. Some characters could fill an hour in themselves while others get old in three minutes. Overall, a world without room for the House of Pigs would be a blander, duller one for sure.

Until 27 August. Today 11pm.