He's a German with a passion for cabaret, sequins and the splits. Oh, and he plays the accordion. Obviously. Yes, Hans is back Like A German. Daniel Perks reviews:

Leave the attitude at the door, Hans is back and he’s singing from The Sound Of Music. The boy wonder from Berlin has had a multimedia upgrade, strolling through the hills in curtain-clad lederhosen. It’s over produced, over prepared and full to bursting with camp charisma, sequins and sparkle.

Everything about Like A German should be horrendous. It should smack of sickly schmaltz, leaving the audience retching on its cheesy camp odour.

But it doesn’t. It’s joyous, it’s freeing and it’s uninhibited. It’s holiday camp cabaret on crack, a working men’s club act from all the greats distilled down into one.

Why does it work? Because Hans is so goddamn loveable. This Australian turned faux-German has the audience in the palm of his hand with his natural, sparkling personality. Like A German may be chock full of over-choreographed numbers, but it’s in the off-script moments where Hans interacts with his adoring public and truly comes alive. He can be so outrageous because he is so instantly disarming – Hans knows who he is, accepts it and owns it. And the audience love it too.

There are some elements of this act that are recycled from previous work. The Germanic version of My Favourite Things is a crowd-pleaser, and the unsuspecting audience member dance-off has the crowd in fits of laughter. Hans’ provides performance versatility time and time again – Kylie and Madonna become polkas played on his accordion, Flight of the Bumble Bees is thrashed out on the piano with a virtuosic flare. A 60th birthday tribute to the Like A Virgin gay icon is provided by a superfan. They are all expected, many of them the best bits extracted from Hans’ previous shows.

But it doesn’t matter. Caught up in the mêlée of it all, rehashing old material only endears the boy wonder to his adoring public more and more. It’s no surprise that this act has won the hearts of the 2018 America’s Got Talent crew, a fact that Hans plays upon when comparing his Germanic background to that of ‘faker’ Heidi Klum. This particular run of Edinburgh shows has been cut short so that Hans can fly off to the states and prepare for the live shows – if he can conjure up such fabulosity on a shoestring fringe budget, imagine what this toe-tapping, side-splitting act can do with true production value.

The microphones don’t work, there is feedback from the speakers. It’s everything that you come to expect from a fringe venue. Yet Hans naturally makes it work with his show. He’s a diva, he’s dramatic and he’s damn good at what he does. In Like A German, Hans touches the audience time and time again. To see something so refreshingly joyous in the midst of some intense theatrical fringe work is just the tonic that this reviewer needs.

 

 

★★★★☆

Like A German runs at Assembly Rooms as part of Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018 until 19 August 2018. For further information, please visit the venue website.