Creator: Elf Lyons
Reviewer: Simon Topping
Elf Lyons’ show Swan is too good to miss. Entering the stage in a parrot costume, bought from eBay for too much money, along with several other ill-advised purchases and speaking Franglish like a combination of Officer Crabtree from Allo Allo, with a pinch of Stanley Unwin, Lyons is already delighting the crowd.
The night, we are told, is going to be a reimaging of Swan Lake, in four acts. “Don’t think you’ll be getting the last train! It’s the night bus for you”, she says.
Firstly Lyons explains the positions in ballet from the ruler to the Nutribullet, interspersed with stories from her childhood and the occasional break out of character to tell the gathering that she is usually quite nice and possibly even normal; using the French accent makes her move endearing, she enlightens.
Once we have grasped the basics of dance Lyons moves to the ballet proper with fantastic aplomb.
Lyons is an exceptional performer, making the audience feel comfortable and loved whilst always poking fun and pushing boundaries; this is a fine line that only the best comedians can truly achieve, here Lyons seems to do it with ease.
Like a forest imp Lyons darts in and out of the throng to get several people to be part of the show. Her interactions with the attendees are always playful, witty and joyful. There is a particularly funny section where a man called Alex has to follow the character Seigfried from Swan Lake, which happens to be a crocodile hand puppet in this version, with a large torch to keep him in a “spotlight” while all the lights in the room are switched off. This induces tears of laughter from the audience.
There are also random bursts of mirthful and explosive childlike observation. “You are bald”, she proffers and moves on without a second thought back to the plot.
To explain the evening would do an injustice to the show, Swan is something that happens to you, it is a memorable and lovable comedy event full of bonkers twist and turns.
As Lyons takes a bow she shouts, “I am a woman. We can be stupid too!”. The audience are in total agreement as the applause and cheers ring out. Swan is a triumph, a delight to behold and sends the crowd off with almost more joy in their hearts than they can contain; the very best of what Brighton Fringe has on offer.
Running until 23 May 2018 and on tour.