Vulnerability coupled with a dose of the chaotic carries through from the top to the Bottom of Willy Hudson’s solo show.

You might feel be feeling a bit flustered and unprepared as you rush around the Fringe. Willy joins us on stage about as unprepared for his debut Fringe show as it is possible to be, naked except for a pink towel. Vulnerable, yes, but he’s at ease, as you might be among friends. As he crosses into the audience looking for his pants, we could all be packed into his bedroom. Handing someone their underwear which has been stashed under your seat is certainly an ice breaker like no other, an ice breaker for some even more revealing conversations on sex, drugs and the patriarchy.

revealing conversations on sex, drugs and the patriarchy

It transpires Willy is getting ready for a date, a very important third date – with a bottom. In gay online dating culture, he explains, you are defined by your position, “top” or “bottom”, and it’s a position he’s no longer clear on. He’s been a bottom up until now, but does that mean he’ll always be? Queer culture, he observes, has been “gendered” with some “patriarchal shit” and he’s had enough of playing along. This time, the positions aren’t on the cards. Will Willy, as Beyoncé (his hero) sang it, put his love on “top”?

Hudson is confessional, but this is not (as he jokes) a therapy session. His revelations, sometimes shocking, often prompting nods, mutterings and even whoops of agreement, are always shared with the intent of exposing wider issues he perceives in queer culture. It feels both brave, and a bit naughty.

 both brave, and a bit naughty.

The central narrative of ‘the date’ sometimes struggles to hold the structure together, but as in his life, Hudson embraces a good dose of chaos. If he can’t keep up, you’ll get to hear from Lucy behind the desk, steering the course (or is she?).

In blending his cultural observations with dance moves, ukulele and a big pink bucket – all sound tracked to Beyoncé – he makes it clear he won’t be ground down. At it’s heart, Bottom is a call to be fluid, to have fun, and to be more than a position.

I can whole-bodily recommend Bottom, without a shred of embarrassment.

Summerhall Cairn Lecture Theatre, Aug 17-19, 21-26, 16:25

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