EdFringe 2023 Review: Daniel-Ryan Spaulding: Power Gay! ★★★★

“Daniel-Ryan delivers a sheer comic delight that encourages us all to embrace our inner Power Gay!”

If your algorithm on Tik Tok or Instagram is working properly, you should have encountered the magical comedy of Canadian expat Daniel-Ryan Spaulding. Sharing tips on how to live the decadent life of an elite European ‘power gay’, Daniel-Ryan brings a compelling sass and confidence to his content which audiences can also expect at the Edinburgh Fringe’s Just the Tonic at the Caves in the comedian’s show, which is of course brilliantly titled Daniel-Ryan Spaulding: Power Gay!

In Daniel-Ryan’s solo show he explores the busy year he’s had: quitting drinking, losing over 100kg through surgery, overcoming depression, and travelling the world. The star takes to the stage to delve into these topics, giving us insight into his relationship with Europe, his take on the changing nature of Pride, and unfortunate dealings with the German Polizei.

The scene is fittingly set in the Caves’ Just Down the Road venue as ABBA and an assortment of Lady Gaga tracks play before Daniel-Ryan takes to the stage. The comedian’s observations on his time in Europe are astutely shared with the star delving into his thankfulness about not performing to a very literal German audience. Daniel-Ryan’s observations about the various social traits of Germans, the Dutch, and Norwegians are shared with some well-pitched accent work and wonderfully refreshing honesty. The comedian’s commentary about Berlin’s queer underground darkrooms, a societal preconception with schadenfreude, and comparisons with German and Canadian sex, spark some big laughs.

The Canadian-European ponders the idea of an exclusively gay colony on Zanzibar, before humorously examining the changing nature of Pride. There are laughs to be had in Daniel-Ryan sharing his battle with haters for taking part in Gay Pride, with the comedian exploring Pride being hijacked by eighteen year old blue-haired girls commanding people “You’re gonna march!”. It is one of the sharpest and most astute gags of the set, until the comic takes on the real enemy to Pride – straight female ‘allies’ and their boyfriends who discover Pride is actually all about them.

Power Gay! sees Daniel-Ryan hilariously share some dark home truths with the comedian noting that his battle with alcohol, lead to a “Turkish old man” period. The star brings a delightful honesty to the fold in these unglamorous encounters, whilst simultaneously being truly laugh out loud funny. The phrase ‘Cypriot village boy’ will never be the same once you’ve watched Daniel-Ryan deliver this bit.

Daniel-Ryan documents his 100kg weight loss, whilst celebrating the joys of surgery and his own little “stomach abortion” through gastric sleeve surgery. The comedian’s interactions with German doctors and his ability to utilise mastectomy scars for their full Power Gay potential is truly hilarious.

Daniel-Ryan’s sharp intellect and quick-witted sass make Power Gay! a clear highlight of the Edinburgh Fringe. Within these deeply humorous and provocative stories of confidence, living truthfully and overcoming adversity is a rather humbling message about being a little kinder to one another, which is delivered with a natural sincerity. Daniel-Ryan delivers a sheer comic delight that encourages us all to embrace our inner Power Gay!

Daniel-Ryan Spaulding: Power Gay! runs until August 13th. Get tickets here.

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