Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2022 Theatre Review: Lizard Boy (Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose) ★★★★★

First dates are always tough, but when you are a Lizard Boy they can be even more challenging. Venturing out for the first time in twenty years, sweet and socially awkward Trevor goes on an epic rollercoaster of self-discovery. With a thrilling original score and superb cast, this new rock musical is a true smash hit.

Kirsten “Kiki” deLohr Helland, Justin Huertas, and William A. Williams. Photo credit: Kevin Berne.

Featuring the award-winning original cast, Lizard Boy is an explosive, hilarious and poignant piece about transformation, heroism and acceptance. Written and composed by Justin Huertas, who also stars, this coming-of-age love story is full of surprises.

Huertas is an adorable protagonist, sympathetic and likeable as Trevor struggles with low self-worth and body image. With his superb voice and musical talent, his hopeful persona connects with an audience, who will him to succeed. His awkward, funny and ultimately touching first date with Cary (William A. Williams) is the stuff of rom-coms, and the connection between the two feels genuine and sincere.

Kirsten “Kiki” deLohr Helland, Justin Huertas and William A. Williams. Photo credit: Alabastro Photography.

Kirsten “Kiki” deLohr Helland is captivating as The Siren, showcasing both spectacular vocals and an enigmatic performance that is equal parts Norma Desmond and Shirley Manson. A striking counter-point to Huertas and Williams’ gentle characters, her energy lifts the production to the next level.

The cast excel at every turn, with strong characterisations, incredible voices, and multi-instrumental skills that beggar belief. The songs are intelligently crafted, part of the whole piece rather than a stepping stone to the next plot point, with outstanding musical direction by Steven Tran. Brandon Ivie’s seriously slick staging makes the most of the space, elevating the action and hitting every dramatic beat.

William A. Williams, Kirsten “Kiki” deLohr Helland and Justin Huertas. Photo credit: Kevin Berne.

It is rare that a show this electrifying should also be so emotive, but Lizard Boy is a multifaceted beast. Drenched with humour, pathos and a whole heap of dragon’s blood, this is a heartfelt comic book caper with dramatic highs and hidden depths.

By Deborah Klayman

Lizard Boy plays at Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose, Edinburgh until 28th August 2022.

Cary (William A. Williams) looks on as Trevor (Justin Huertas) is enchanted by Siren (Kirsten “Kiki” deLohr Helland) in TheatreWorks Silicon Valley’s “Lizard Boy.” Photo credit: Kevin Berne.

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