reviews and recommendations

Elf Lyons: Swan

I love stand up comedy, I love Elf Lyons doing stand up comedy, but I must admit it was refreshing to have a little departure from my Edinburgh Fringe stand up schedule to see some absurdist clowning in Elf’s show Swan, in which she explodes the plot of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake/finds a marvellously convoluted way of justifying some drunken internet purchases.

Anyone who went to ballet classes as a child will appreciate the brilliant touch of opening by chucking powder onto the stage (so you don’t slip) before Elf enters donning a parrot costume and speaking in… Franglais I suppose, but not like you have ever heard it before. Elf proceeds to explain how she détesté le ballet when she was a child, employing the technique I used to get out of nursery. However Elf has decided to reinterpret the strange plot of Swan Lake.

You might think that you cannot reenact Swan Lake as a one woman show, you are wrong sir. You might also suspect watching a hand puppet mime a song for five minutes would get old before the time is up, sir you are wrong again! Elf talks us through her Swan Lake in a manner reminiscent of a child imparting a very long and complicated story to you. However children tend not to insert a left-wing feminist ideology into the mix, let along criticise a heteronormative narrative, so the show never becomes exhausting. You will only be distracted with the nagging question: where did the idea for this show even come from?!

What could be a very indulgent show is instead a hugely playful poke at gender binaries and making use of whatever props Elf feels like using.


Elf Lyons: Swan is at the Underbelly Med Quad at 21:30 until 28th August. For tickets and more information click here!