The richly talented Celeste Lecesne leads Poof! at the Gilded Balloon this Edinburgh Festival Fringe, bringing on-the-nose metaphorical observations to the stage for an unfocussed but enjoyably well-intentioned hour.
A press release shares “the fairies are revealing themselves in surprising ways – sharing wisdom, songs and a few spells” with this solo show centring on a world of fairies emerging from the shadows. Celeste Lecesne celebrates the world of fairies and their magical ability to survive in the world despite their repression.
The acclaimed performer arrives on stage dressed with a flower garland and flowing pink dress, emerging from the side jingling bells over the front row. The Gilded Balloon Billiard Room stage is set up with a small wooden stool and striking floral backdrop, with the performer utilising the space effectively. Lecesne is a presence brimming with positivity and warmth, delivering lines with a sincerity and enthusiasm, resulting in a show that instils a natural positivity in its audience.
The show’s title of Poof! is something of a giveaway, but Lecesne’s piece plays as a metaphor about the journey of the queer community throughout history. Fairies initially spent life in the shadows, shunned by society, but over the years have seen more acceptance. Undergoing a PR push and with the work of well-known fairies such as Tinkerbell, fairies were generally accepted by the masses – unlike witches. This metaphor is explored through monologue, anecdote and sketch in something of a jumbled and unfocused fashion with a sketch about an elderly lesbian couple and fairies encapsulating this.
This metaphor is on-the-nose, but that seems to be the point. The magic and hopefulness of fairies is an effective parallel to that of the queer community who have continually pushed through adversity for social progress, equal rights, and acceptance. Lecesne interweaves gentle moments of audience interaction throughout to help hammer these themes home. Pencils aka magic wands are handed out with the audience encouraged to make a hopeful wish, whilst an impromptu survey of the diverse audience of ‘witches’, ‘wizards’ and ‘fellow fairies’ is taken.
Whilst the expression of its themes can feel somewhat repetitive and unfocussed, Lecesne is a vibrant storyteller who celebrates the queer community’s strength and positivity in this well-intentioned piece.
Poof! plays at the Gilded Balloon this Edinburgh Fringe. Get tickets here.