Australian born, London-based cabaret sensation Reuben Kaye is unashamedly filthy, flirtatious and full of himself. And so is the audience: Kaye’s exposition of how he became the fabulous man he is today never bores.
His piercing gaze, helped by the world’s biggest fake eyelashes, makes his sold-out theatre listen in awe – and in terror, as Kaye licks, kisses and whips various men in the front few rows.
Kaye shows true craftsmanship in storytelling and re-imagining songs from Kurt Weil to Kate Bush and ZZ Top, assisted by his immaculate three-piece band the K-Holes. His jokes are crude and mainly of a sexual nature, but he can just as easily confront (internalised) homophobia or touch on problems that connect today’s political realities in Australia, the UK and the US.
Some of his jokes get quite repetitive and his singing voice is incredibly powerful but a bit sharp. That might well be Fringe exhaustion, because Kaye’s show is a true tour de force in which he doesn’t allow himself, nor his audience, a second of rest.
You can hear a pin drop when he speaks of the abuse and bullying he suffered as a result of being different. When he shows his vulnerability, he truly wins the audience over: Kaye describes his teenage longing for a first kiss in such a heart-breaking way that it’s impossible to not root for him.