As a fixture on London’s alt performance scene, Scottee generally has two modes: channelling Hattie Jacques as outsized sequinned host of skewed variety nights like ‘Hamburger Queen’ and ‘Eat Your Heart Out’; and performing mute clowning routines about beauty, mess and mortification. His full-length solo Edinburgh debut, ‘The Worst of Scottee’ fits into neither camp. (Indeed, it's listed in the Theatre section of the programme.) Instead, it’s a piece of high-concept enhanced storytelling about his youth on a north London council estate, initiated by an invitation to a broad circle of acquaintances to share their memories of his worst behaviour and its effects. Tales emerged of teenage relationship-related acting out, professional irresponsibility and familial subterfuge; some respondents are shown being interviewed by a psychologist in between Scottee’s revisiting of the incidents in question. His assets as a performer include buckets of charisma, a powerful visual sensibility rooted in bold colour choices and a surprisingly rich and riveting singing voice, all of which are put to good use here. But the show’s real coup is its set: a photo booth incorporating a live video feed, so for the most part we observe Scottee side-on as he addresses us face-on from a screen. It’s a set-up at once evocative of nostalgia, surveillance and confessional, diary and duplicity; he’s at once alone and observed, alienated and up-close, exposed and two-faced. Superficially, ‘The Worst of Scottee’ is an acutely narcissistic project but, as the show touches lightly on subjects from weight and wealth to sexuality and state power, it describes a troubling picture of vulnerable youth and raises highly provocative questions about the limits of individual agency and responsibility. I’m not sure whether the ending quite works; even so, ‘The Worst of Scottee’ is one of the most impressive, affecting and unsettling productions I’ve seen this year.
And if you like the sound of this, try:
‘Nobody’s Boy’, a rough but remarkable song set by newcomer Adam Caslin that uses the music of Amy Winehouse, Nina Simone and others to express a young gay journey of the heart with palpable pain and anger.
For more from Ben Walters in Edinburgh, follow him @not_television
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Café de Paris
This longstanding Leicester Square nightspot must be doing something right - bar a short time during the '40s it's been open for more than 90 years. During that time it's played host to some pretty big acts, from Sinatra and Tony Hancock to Grace Kelly, Noel Coward and Marlene Dietrich. Today it's more about cabaret and dining, with the nightclub side of things available for those partial to a party. Expect more than a little tassel twirling titillation with burlesque a big part of the output, but there's also music, magic, jazz and more. Drinks can be enjoyed up on the mezzanine, too.
Venue says: “Plan an epic Friday and Saturday night at Café de Paris. Resident DJs, cabaret and private bars available.”