EDINBURGH 2019: BWW Review: CHRIS PARKER: CAMP BINCH, Assembly George Square Studios
"Clear the schedule!" Parker frantically insists at several points during Camp Binch. And he's absolutely right. Clear everything at 18:50 and get yourself to Assembly George Square Studios.
Camp Binch has it all: big Broadway numbers, wigs, exceptional childhood haircuts, and enough energy from Parker to power the whole of Edinburgh. Honestly, just watching him is a workout in itself; he's like the Duracell Bunny.
From child star to inspirational speaker at his old school's leavers' assembly, Parker is examining his life through a series of stunning childhood photos. Seriously, that bowl cut is a sight to behold.
Parker is so affable and open with his audience as he talks about finding his place in a culture that celebrates the All Blacks as the peak of what a man can become, but leaves no real space for anyone who doesn't fit into that one mould. Everyone can relate to feeling like an outsider in some respects, and so he creates a very warm and receptive room. You're onside from the moment he catapults himself onto the stage to the very end.
There's this idea that the "sad ending" is now the done thing for comedians, but Parker hasn't shoehorned his in for the sake of it - it's a natural progression for the story to take. The transition between the two is so seamless as well.
Most importantly, though, it doesn't stop being funny at any point; the gags keep coming even though everyone, including Parker, is choking back tears. And it's not hopeless either - Parker's bossing life and committed to bringing a positive change at his alma mater.
Using the same material to move you to tears as he did to have you cackling with laughter mere minutes ago? That's magic. Parker's a bit magic. Clear your schedule and go and see him.
NB: Apologies to Tom Lenk, who was flyering when we left the studio - it's difficult to sell a show when the person you're handing your flyer to is mid-weep. No reflection on Tilda Swinton Answers An Advert on Craigslist, I promise...