Lizard Boy recently had its UK Premiere at the wonderful Hope Mill Theatre in Manchester, it’s now at the Edinburgh Fringe’s Gilded Balloon Patter Hoose until the 28th of August.

Credit: Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

Billing itself as ‘equal parts comic book lore and coming-of-age love story, this new musical is centred around Trevor (played by writer and composer Justin Huertas). Trevor’s skin is covered in green scales just like a lizard, a result of a dragon attack at the age of 5. This means that the only night he can leave his flat unnoticed is during Monster Fest, when everyone else is dressed as a monster.

Trevor decides to download Grindr and meets Cary (William A Williams). Although there is a slight miscommunication as Cary believes that they are hooking up due to Trevor’s profile stating ‘looking for now’ – which Trevor did not intend in this way.

The three members of the cast play instruments including the guitar, ukulele and melodica, throughout the performance, giving the show a slight gig theatre vibe. The score is mostly made up of easy listening acoustic performances which delight the ears. The exception to this is Rockstar Siren (Kirsten de Lohr Helland) who has an incredibly strong rock voice. The harmonies are out of this world, the contrasts between de Lohr Helland and Huertas’ vocals work incredibly well together, and the musical aspects of this show is where it shines most brightly.

This production is scaled back (pun intended), and due to no staging changes, it was slightly difficult at times to follow the plot. However, this is understandable as a Fringe show requires staging which can be packed up quickly for the next show in the venue to prepare. Therefore, I’d love to see this production get a London transfer and to see it in its fully staged glory.

Huertas’ gives a powerful emotive performance. Trevor has no costume, which means that the audience does not see his reptilian qualities. This is symbolic of how we judge ourselves more harshly than we do others, and portrays how we see ourselves.

Lizard Boy is a beautiful celebration of queer love and of embracing our differences. The script is beautifully peppered with touching moments and humour in equal amounts. The Hope Mill Theatre production was 90 minutes in duration, and I do feel that a longer run time would aid the storytelling. Lizard Boy is one of the shows that excited me most at the Fringe and I cannot wait to see it evolve. I adore discovering new musicals, and there’s a great deal of potential here.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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