Alfie Ordinary is up in Scotland, performing Help! I Think I Might Be Fabulous for the first time at the Edinburgh Fringe and although he’s a long way away from his Brighton home, his show is intimate and endearing from the start.
Alfie Ordinary, dressed head to toe in sequins and glitter with a rather severe bowl cut (which he pulls off with aplomb), jumps on to his bizarrely shaped stage. He remarks, with only a hint of playful disappointment, that he seems to be performing in a cupboard. Alfie’s mother is a Drag Queen so, of course, he is a Drag Prince and a thing like a small stage will certainly not throw him off his stride. Even if he has to cart wheel in the aisle.
He charms his audience with the story of his school years at Madame LeCoq’s Prep School for Fabulous Boys, for he realised he was fabulous at a very early age. Alfie was lucky enough to have fabulous parents himself, who embraced and loved his fabulousness. His friend John however was muggle-born. His parents weren’t fabulous. They didn’t like his fabulousness, and when John finished his school day, he had to change out of his sequins and step back into his muggle clothes.
Alfie’s presence onstage is gorgeous, giving, generous and fun, and the way he tells his story is playful and inventive. I don’t want to give too much away, but his use of puppets is inspired. His choice of songs, which he sings and plays beautifully, is a concoction of inspiring power ballads which add colour to his already vivid story. Oh, and let us note that he’s on a bus. It is heartwarming, and a credit to Alfie’s ability to win over his audience, to see strangers embrace each other as they share stickers at the end of the show.
His message too, is powerful. Alongside the glitz and glamour of Alfie’s queertopia is a sobering look into the limitations of our society’s acceptance of difference, and how that might affect the people that feel they don’t fit in. A brilliant moment sees a boy learning about the offside rule in football through an analogy about buying shoes.
I hope that he continues to pack audiences into his attic space and let everyone know that they should absolutely be proud of their fabulousness. We could all do with an Alfie to remind us to be proud of who we are and love ourselves for what we are, whatever that might be.
Help! I Think I Might Be Fabulous is playing the Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre until the 25 August as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. For more information and tickets, see the Edinburgh Fringe website.