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An “absolute tornado of a cabaret star”, Aidan Sadler is routinely vandalising the face of cabaret. Described as the “Demonic David Bowie”, they made their staggering ascent to notoriety at Edinburgh Fringe 2021 with their debut show, Tropicana, which went on to sell out, extend and win “Best Solo Act” at The Scene Alba Awards. After taking Edinburgh Fringe by storm this summer with hit show Melody, Aidan is back in London this November – taking over Pleasance Islington with a return performance, plus a new cabaret night featuring the best late-night artists.

QX caught up with Aidan to talk queer art, barriers to alternative performance, and the C word (Christmas!) 

You’re taking over the Pleasance with not one, but two shows! Can you tell us a bit about both?

Melody is a one-person apocalyptic comedy cabaret featuring my trademark style of hybrid anarchic stand-up comedy and crowd work. It’s also my first ever show with original music – punchy synthwave tunes, with topics ranging from living in the moment, the end of the world and the ever-increasing price of a meal deal. Then, after that – Weird Wood, my brand new alternate late-night comedy variety show. I’ve basically hand-picked all of the best acts I’ve seen both in the fringe and cabaret circuit and placed them on two curated line-ups. It’s going to be pure chaos, and I can’t wait!

 

Melody had great success at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe – how was that experience, and how does it feel to be bringing the show down to London?

My plan was never to do Edinburgh this year – I had Melody shelved from last year as a concept, but I was painfully unhappy in my London residency and conceptualised this run two weeks before the festival started. It was absolutely bloody terrifying! Luckily, the show had a really great response and garnered a bit of a cult underground following – which, to both audiences and the press, I’m eternally grateful for. We did 12 shows and managed an award nomination, three five-star reviews and four four-star. Not bad! I knew that the Edinburgh run wouldn’t be the end of this show, and to be able to immediately bring it kicking and screaming to London feels absolutely correct.

Weird Wood gives us a chance to meet lots of brilliant cabaret and variety acts – can you tell us about some of them?

The lineups vary quite radically! On Friday, 17th November, we have one of the most award-winningest, ridiculousest ventriloquist puppet commanders, Lachlan Werner, Posey Mehta will be introducing us to her brand new New York agent Mitzi Fitz, and we’ll be treated to some sex appeal and clownery from Dolly The Clown (Lady Lydia) and, brand new from their rebrand, drag creature Bard the Beholder will be gracing us with their terrifying presence. On Saturday, we have the international man of business Enrico Touche, with a very serious message, and then fresh off her five-star Edinburgh run, Belle De Beauvoir will be showing us why she’s been on tour continually for the last year. Bolly Illusion will be giving us some Bollywood/hip-hop fusion, and Nat Funni will be bringing us bubble gum pop chaos! There’s truly something for everybody, and I can’t wait to show off these talented performers to the masses.

Aiden Sadler at The Pleasance Theatre in London.

How important is it to have spaces in London like the Pleasance, which platform queer and alternative cabaret as part of their programming?

Oh my God – so important! There’s always been this big barrier that says “mainstream commercial appeal” that stands between the most cutting-edge queer and alternative performers. Having spaces in London that tear down that barrier and continue the spirit of the Fringe year-round is absolutely vital for making the arts community accessible to the weird and wonderful (and best) talent on the scene. 

What’s next for you after the Pleasance takeover?

A big old nap! Then it’s a game of selling my soul to the C word (Christmas) before hopefully touring Melody and showing it to festivals next year. The joy of writing cabaret is that whilst it can be a very current and satirical show, I can continue to develop it on the road to constantly update it. The show I’m bringing to Pleasance is going to be a massive upgrade on the show we took to Edinburgh!

For those currently on the website hovering over the ‘book now’ button – any final words of persuasion?

If you like things that are fun, have been positively received in the past, and feature banging music, these will be the shows for you. It’s an absolute riot packed into a 60-minute show!

Aidan Sadler’s Pleasance takeover runs on 17th and 18th November at the Pleasance, Islington. Catch MELODY at 7 pm and WEIRD WOOD at 9 pm. Tickets available at pleasance.co.uk.

Melody is queer performance by Aidan Sadler at The Pleasance theatre in London.

https://www.qxmagazine.com/area/best-lgbtqi-gay-theatre-in-london/

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