Reviewed by Isabelle Gius.
Sour, Joe Sutherland’s third solo show at the Fringe, is situated in a sweaty cinema room at Banshee Labyrinth, and walking in to clips of Paris Hilton, you almost believe you’re about to see some sort of nostalgic screening. Joe is casually dancing on stage to the pre-show playlist and not shying away from eye contact.
Although an opener about how much he hates theatre and modern dance seemed somewhat misplaced for a Fringe audience, both the set and the audience warmed up over the fast-paced hour. The Spice Girls reunion tour structured the show, yet allowed for countless digressions, from anxiety to the desire to be a better person to growing up gay in Coventry. The show flowed effortlessly from topic to topic, and Joe particularly shined in the smaller one-liners and random bits thrown in between, like a Glaswegian doing ASMR or ways to pretend to be posh.
Joe courts a catty, sarcastic, self-involved persona, yet despite his best efforts, as the show goes on a genuinely lovely and self-reflective guy shines through the cracks. Ruminations on politics and pride are apt without being pretentious. A bit about the Spice Girls as alt-right metaphor is hysterical. The show takes you through a variety of serious topics, but you hardly even realize until the very end because you’ve been laughing through it all.
Fundamentally, Sour is focused on the past: how can we reckon with it, look back nostalgically (or not) at it, and move on from it? How can a flamboyant anti-war schoolyard protestor become a UKIP supporter – and what version of the past informs such a shift? These questions are essential, and I’m not just saying that because I’m a history student.
Go see Sour – it’s funny, it’s timely, and it’s free (although you really should pay at the end – and they’ve got a card machine). Plus, it’s just down the road from Hive.
Joe Sutherland: Sour runs at Banshee Labyrinth at 22:10 until 25th August.