Vaudeville, as his self-proclaimed majesty Idris Stanton explains, is a bygone format of entertainment that focuses on short snippets of fluffy routines. Stanton blends that style into his act along with some hilarious doses of stand-up comedy, audience participation and classic glam hard rock.
Decked out in a wonderfully shiny ringmaster-style coat, cowboy boots and an actual microphone holster, Stanton is convivial and animated in his first solo performance after featuring in Fringe heavy-hitters like Papillon. The show is a spread of those types of appealing circus routines and the funny but unadventurous comedy riffs. There are moments that stand out, and they're largely attributed to Stanton's ease in engaging with the audience, and his showy affections for classic metal.
It was great fun to see him perform KISS's "Psycho Circus" with a leafblower, scarf and tambourine juggling. Even more so later on where he invited a painfully shy but courageous audience member on stage to rock out together with a racquet air guitar and inconsistent humming. There's also some great sound design that has been worked into the comedic routines of the show that were notably effective during these latter moments, and while there were a couple of misses, getting those cues right all the way through must be incredibly difficult.
It's hard to say whether the performance would benefit from more structure to greater allude to the short vaudevillian acts that inspires it, but the informal and amicable atmosphere works very well. It was also just nice to see a performer greeting and thanking his audience as they filed out the tent afterwards; it's a lovely gesture that is very uncommon these days.
Idris Stanton: Last King of Vaudeville is just fun. A delightful hour of irreverence that didn't extend its welcome or try too hard to insert modern edges into a classic style. You won't regret giving this one a go.