Here’s Dedee with another report direct from the Edinburgh Fringe Festival…
You may know Juan Vesuvius (as performed by NZ comedian Barnie Duncan) from his previous shows Calypso Nights and Juan, Two? where he treated audiences to a new style of performance, the Comedy DJ.
I hadn’t seen him before, (apart from in his other Fringe show Different Party, with Trygve Wakenshaw, which I can highly recommend) and was looking forward to this unique mix of character comedy, physical comedy, and live DJing.
As soon as we arrive the scene is set. We’re greeted by our friendly host Juan Vesuvius, who stamps our wrists with a smiley face as we enter the club. He’s wearing an excellent ruffly-sleeved Adidas jacket (which looks great when he shakes those maracas) and begins by playing a few records, with some on point observational riffing about the city of “Edinborg”. Then he takes us on a journey through the history of disco and house, using specially selected tracks along the way. He talks about the gay rights movement, the first gay bars, the stonewall riots, rave culture, and how house music got its name.
For those who don’t like house, he takes a moment to explain the difference between ‘good house’ and ‘bad house’. This includes an enlightening demonstration of what he calls the “Guetta effect.”
There aren’t many props, but Juan does need a few towels, DJing is hot work after all. There was some brilliant audience participation, and the unexpected use of lemons was amazing. (To find out why, you’ll have to see the show.) His impression of a bee about to feast on pollen is worth the ticket price alone. And with all that great music, you do get to have a little dance as well.
It was a pleasure to watch Juan Vesuvius in action. With his adept multitasking of mixing tunes, telling a story, and showing off his dance moves, it’s the most enjoyable music history lesson I’ve had in awhile.
So do yourselves a favour, come party with Juan, learn a few things and grab a mixtape on your way out.