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EdFringe 2019 Review: Melinda Hughes: Off the Scale


Melinda Hughes: Off the Scale
Rating: ★★★

Venue: Assembly Rooms - Drawing Room
Tickets

After a stellar turn at the Assembly Festival with Margo: Half Woman, Half Beast, Melinda Hughes returns to Edinburgh with satirical cabaret show, Off the Scale. Melinda packs this eclectic set with original musical numbers, natural audience interaction, and personal anecdote to produce a warm and witty evening of cabaret.

Alongside musical director Michael Roulston, drum and cellist accompaniment, Melinda delivers razor-sharp wit in a number of savvy musical numbers tackling the mania of the past few years.

No twenty-first century gripe is safe from Melinda's satirical eye with all from internet trolls to hipsters under fire. These numbers are sharp and relevant musings on the strange world in which we live. Delivered with a Walt Disney-esque schmaltz, Melinda's number on internet trolls taps into the dark side of social networking; Hipsters explores the impracticalities of living the hipster life and the perils of dating one. A hilarious country and western number delivered in the guise of a sex-pest cowboy attacks misogyny, whilst Cougars is a wonderful sultry number that plays with the mythology of Romeo & Juliet. Melinda's versatile diction and operatic vocals shine throughout these impressive original numbers.

There is some welcome audience interaction with Melinda's Cougar hunting for a young audience member and during the cautionary tale 'Selfie', she travels through the crowd hunting for the ultimate selfie. This helps ensure that Off the Scale remains a lively and engaging cabaret romp throughout.

A special guest appearance from Melania Trump - promoting her book Boobs in the White House - leads to an amusing number about bumping-off her spouse in some imaginative ways. A quick manoeuvring of her hair, a half-closing her eyes turns and the adoption of a heavy Slovenian accent turns Melinda into Melania for this brief comic interlude.

Further engagement is provided through personal anecdotes centred around the Jewish grieving process and her French partner's half-sympathetic stance to France's political problems. Melinda is an engaging stage presence and these gently emotive anecdotes are a wonderful means of further investing us in Off the Scale. A rousing, playful closing number thanking herself proves to be an amusing finale that takes advantage of Melinda's full vocal range.

Melinda Hughes: Off the Scale is an engaging and sophisticated slice of cabaret. Melinda is an absorbing stage presence who provides plenty of sharp comic musings on many a 21st Century annoyance. Warm personal anecdote and stellar musical accompaniment make this a must for Edinburgh Fringe cabaret fans.
Theatre Review 2814502110663677881
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