FRINGE 2019: Why you need to see… London Hughes
Who: London Hughes
What: To Catch a Dick
"I want to talk about my father. I’m sorry to fuck the stereotype, but I do know him..."
At the top of To Catch A Dick, London Hughes has a warning. If the Hitchcockian title wasn't enough of a clue, she warns that her show is filthy. So filthy in fact that she has decided to appoint a member of the audience as her moral compass - ideally a white man because "it's about time someone gave you that power." Hughes promises a journey through space and time as she recounts her "dick-catching history". What follows is an absolute tour de force of expletive-laden brilliance.
It is a veritable cacophony of cock, a plethora of penis, and whirlwind of wood. Hughes surely breaks all known records for how much the word 'dick' is mentioned in a single Edinburgh show. But like Eddie Murphy and Chris Rock before her, she utilises profanity with such artistry and flair. Anyone can get up on stage and be x-rated for an hour. The trick to elevating it beyond one-note shock tactics is to use curse words and crudities as seasoning, rather than your sole ingredient.
Thankfully Hughes is a masterful performer who knows this all too well. She has so many strings to her comedy bow. You will struggle to find a stand-up at the Fringe who elicits greater guffaws from pure physical comedy. Hughes can make people laugh by simply acting out her full name. There is one section where she explains - or rather demonstrates - how she got the nickname 'seagull', which had members of the audience literally crying in painful convulsions.
What Hughes does especially well is build up a storm of laughter and ride it for all it's worth. This often involves her shouting incredulously over the noise of a howling crowd still recovering from the last zinger. Her Brian Blessed vs nervous rap battler bit is a perfect example, whilst her inventive use of GCSE Spanish to fake an orgasm is achingly good. And throughout all this you've got a nervous looking moral compass who's at risk of being called upon at any moment.
You'll no doubt hear a lot about To Catch A Dick in coming weeks. It is too good to ignore - even amongst the more conservative of Edinburgh critics - but really, no words will do it proper justice. You just have to go and experience it, if you can still get a ticket. This is comedy with "all the power of a thousand Destiny's Children". I don't know what the female equivalent of 'big dick energy' is, but London Hughes has it in droves.
You can buy tickets for To Catch A Dick here.