Edinburgh Fringe Review - Royal Vauxhall

Legend has it that one night in 1988 TV star Kenny Everett, rock legend Freddie Mercury and Princess Diana Spencer dressed up in disguise and went out clubbing together! If that sounds too fantastical to be true that's because it (probably) is, but that didn't stop Desmond O’Connor from transforming the mysterious rumour into brilliant musical, with a plot which somehow seems totally plausible.  
Although O'Connor's songs are fantastically catchy, it is the story itself which is Royal Vauxhall's strongest element. Despite the bawdy jokes and erratic drunken antics, each of the three characters shine brightest in their more reflective moments, and O'Connor's script gives each character a moment to unveil their own very real problems, while maintaining a fun and slightly surreal tone overall. 

Each character having their own dilemma makes for very interesting dynamics between the three characters. However, once they have admitted their problems to each other, the plot has nowhere else to go except round in circles. There is a distinct lack of antagonist, with the main complication being the risk of exposure for the trio. Although lighting and sound design brings the Royal Vauxhall Tavern to life, a larger cast would make their predicament seem much more threatening, which would definitely up the stakes and aid the pace of the show, which does slow down towards the end. 

Despite the lack of a high stakes finale, the final moments of Royal Vauxhall are quite touching. News reporters voices are heard, announcing the deaths of Princess Dianna, Kenny Everett and Freddie Mercury respectively. It's a moment grounded totally in reality, which forces the audience to put the somewhat absurd story to one side for a minute and consider that the show's characters were real people with real struggles. It's a surprisingly low key ending, which suits the piece perfectly, because for all its riotous fun and outrageous gags, it humanises three of the most iconic figures of the 1980s, and for that reason the respectful solemnity feels fitting.