Binge Fringe Magazine

REVIEW: Melody, Aidan Sadler, EdFringe 2023 ★★★★★

It’s the end of the world and your dead Nan is here to celebrate! Aidan Sadler’s all-out genderbending bonanza re-wilds the (absolute) state of Modern Britain through the rhythmic lens of the Synthwave genre. In a world that feels like the bizarre and uncanny is taking over, nothing escapes Aidan’s spearing cabaret grasp. From the ever-spiralling price of a meal deal to expressing non-binary joy through the power of song, and all the way to offering a handjob to a shirtless Italian man. With an immensely fresh sense of purpose and Sadler’s endlessly energetic and charismatic personality delivers a sucker-punch hour of cheeky cabaret glee. Donning a suit with seemingly unending capes, Aidan’s stand-up offers unending capers combined with hair-raising original tunes.

Queer joy and razor-sharp observational comedy top off Aidan’s consistently crowd-pleasing roster of sure-to-be cult classic tunes. It seems as though the state of the world has Aidan ticked off, and in response they’ve spent what is likely a month of London rent on a gorgeous tailored costume with all the frills and capes you could ask for. Like a peacock emerging for a mating dance, Aidan cavorts the audience into joining them in disparaging the world – by summoning one of their dead grandparents from the grave and providing another with a set list to help keep them on track. Don’t be alarmed though, there’s no lack of professionalism here – the cabaret star knows precisely what they’re doing in fascinating their crowd into playing their part in the chaos.

The Synthwave 80s nostalgic aesthetic flows through the piece’s musical register, with flavours of New Wave and Glam Rock blending into retro Gameboy and Nintendo game theme-esque melodies that slide against Aidan’s fantastically broadcast vocals. From the smooth to the silly, the tone of the lyrics across the four original songs offer up a uniquely Queer perspective on the seeming downfall of our society. With a song addressing the complacency, difficulties, and resolutions of presenting as a non-binary person delivering a gorgeous pay-off with the audience, a later song that takes on a We Didn’t Start The Fire Retrowave take on the events of Tory rule and a Cost of Living Crisis – the show has a feeling of composite pertinence and continual ability to make the audience gasp and giggle in equal measure.

One of the absolute joys of the piece is its continual self-referentiality – without revealing too much there is plenty of interplay between them and the crowd, and in between the whooping and hollering that seems almost innate in this wonderful piece of satirical variety performance, Aidan takes the form of a non-binary pied piper leading a very willing audience down the garden path and through the synth-verse to embrace the madness of the ever-present Armageddon.

A vivaciously vibrant, fervently funny, and fantastically frenzied cabaret hour with a constantly charismatic host. From meal deals to the heat death of the Universe, Aidan will guide you to your sequin-covered salvation.

Recommended Drink: A Piña Colada – a maraschino rich and creamy zest fest.

Catch Aidan Sadler: Melody until August 26th at theSpace On The Mile – Space 3 at 21:35. Tickets are available through the EdFringe Box Office.

Jake Mace

Our Lead Editor & Edinburgh Editor. Jake loves putting together reviews that try to heat-seek the essence of everything they watch. They are interested in New Writing, Literary Adaptations, Musicals, Cabaret, and Stand-Up. Jake aims to cover themes like Class, Nationality, Identity, Queerness, and AI/Automation.

Festivals: EdFringe (2018-2023), Brighton Fringe (2019), Paris Fringe (2020), VAULT Festival (2023), Prague Fringe (2023-24), Dundee Fringe (2023)
Pronouns: They/Them