Rob Kemp is a straight white man but he’s also (in his own words) a transvestite. Adorning the stage in a glorious sequin dress and heels that could easily be used as a lethal weapon, Kemp has come to Edinburgh to tell of his amazingly powerful journey, all while crippling audiences with riotous laughter.
Kemp comes with an enjoyable style of scripted comedy gold interspersed with sincere monologues of how difficult society has made it to be different. Kemp’s struggles originate from a place of absolute stupidity, someone decided that dresses were for girls and it’s been closemindedly accepted ever since. But it’s for daft reasons like this and fear of becoming a social pariah that Kemp cannot feel entirely comfortable in his own skin.
‘Agenda’ also contains some side-splitting comedy that isn’t about how Kemp dresses. He is a bona fide and self-admitted weirdo. His strange food habits like drowning his pizza in mayonnaise and his opinions on sandwich apartheid are absolutely hilarious. And his obsession with niche 80’s action films is as funny as it is odd.
But it’s his amazing way of talking about his mishaps before, during and after his rebirth or truth be told, his actual birth seven years ago that are the highlights of this show. Coming out to your friends is hard and finding high quality fake breasts is even harder.
Kemp’s whole performance is compelling and vulnerable. This is an ongoing saga in which he is not entirely over the shame he feels which is horrible to hear. You’re rooting for him every step of the way, if not only because he makes you laugh, but because he’s a tremendously inspiring person. A lot of the motivation for this performance came from a child, who also enjoys wearing dresses. Kemp helped him and if his openness is enough to help anyone else be their true selves (which I have no doubt it will) then ‘Agenda’ can be considered a huge success.
Rob Kemp: Agenda
19:35 at Monkey Barrel Comedy (Hive)
August 18 – 28