Moving from a show very much for adults, Reuben Kaye descends further into late night cabaret. Regulars and guests join the foray, as Daniel Perks tries out The Kaye Hole:

Reuben Kaye is masterful in front of an audience. With just one look, and possibly one small musical number, he can command attention and hold his prey (typo… public) in the palm of his hand. He is deliciously decadent, devilishly dark and most definitely not for the debutantes of heteronormative society.

And all this on his solo show, where he is primped and polished and purposefully prepared.

Reuben Kaye EdFringe 2019
Reuben Kaye

So, imagine the possibilities when Reuben is put in charge of a late-night variety show, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, on the weekend, where he invites the acts and he makes the rules.

It. Is. Carnage. Of the best possible kind.

Kaye Hole Assembly Checkpoint
Reuben Kaye

The Kaye Hole is home to otherness, queerness, alternative-ness. It is sanctuary in a dark, dark time of political conformance and a surreptitious cleansing of difference from the face of the earth.

On the roster are members of cabaret royalty – Kitty Bang Bang, Heather Holliday and Beau Sargent. These regulars on retainer do not disappoint; contortion and neon glow-in-the-dark sword swallowing are guaranteed to get rid of any remaining gag reflexes lurking in the crowd.

Heather Holliday

But Kaye also attracts the crème de la crème from the surrounding fringe talent too, with each performance boasting a new array of acts to eke every emotional drop from a booze-soaked, weekend mosh pit of an audience.

Len Blanco, Le Coup, Jess Mews and Rhys Nicholson grace the stage on the night I made the mistake of strapping in for a ride at The Kaye Hole. What a feast of variety! Each performer is uniquely talented – drag king dick pics, a brass band and bowling bowl balancer, cut-to-the-bone comedy and hula hoops abound.

Jess Mews

All the while, the acts are under the watchful eye and protective wing of Kaye, championing and cheering louder than any drunken hen party can possibly muster. He is a cabaret behemoth but also the gentlest of giants, a true icon for any budding performer to look up to. Because despite getting loose and letting rip – gloves off, nails sharpened and de-robed – he is still a performer who lifts up and supports.

Kaye Hole Assembly Checkpoint
Reuben Kaye

The Kaye Hole may sound like the most disturbing of places to be. But for anyone marginalised, belittled or made to feel unworthy, plunge yourself into Reuben’s warm, comforting embrace. You won’t regret it. You make even make a home there.

★★★★☆

The Kaye Hole is playing at Assembly Checkpoint until 25 August 2019. For more information or to buy tickets, please visit the festival website.