‘It’s hot. It’s gay. And it’s a time machine’. These statements are continuously repeated by the onstage duo Zak Ghazi-Torbati and Toby Marlow in their most recent late night cabaret show Hot Gay Time Machine. And they certainly don’t disappoint. This is a show guaranteed to entertain from start to finish.
The audience goes on a one-hour journey with Zak and Toby in their hot, gay time machine, visiting all of the most important moments in a gay man’s life. From coming out to your mum, to navigating school changing rooms, they leave no stone un-turned as they take the audience on a journey which is colourful, loud and very funny. The very premise of the show enables the pair to throw light (and ‘shade’) onto varying experiences, always with a dirty joke or two.
Ghazi-Torbati and Marlow both deliver high-energy performances, and seem to have a never ending supply of both energy and dance moves. Although their musical numbers are always comedic, and often parodic, this is not at the expense of actual musicality. Both wow the audience with vocal riffs and soaring harmonies, making their usually filthy lyrics all the funnier. The writing of Lucy Moss is extremely witty, and balances honesty with hyperbole very well, and the pair are also able to dazzle with extravagant dance routines.
The staging is very effective, using what is a relatively small stage to its best advantage, especially considering the fact that the pair are vying for room with a keyboard and two cut-outs of Beyoncé. The lighting is often garish and overpowering, which fits the show perfectly. At no point do the audience feel that their senses are being deprived or neglected, and there seems to constantly be something happening.
If you are looking for a show which has hard-hitting and moving analysis of the history and current realities of being a member of the LGBTQ+ community, this is not the show for you. The audience is not given the chance to feel sombre at any point, although this does not mean that Ghazi-Torbati, Marlow and Moss have shied away from important truths and realities. In fact, they draw attention to many inequalities, not just between gay and straight people, but within the LGBTQ+ community. This is never done without a smile and a joke however, and means that the energy of the show remains unchanged from beginning to end.
Highlights of the show include a song from the point of view of two straight men who feel that the gay community has ruined the rainbow for them, as well as a re-enactment of the pair’s first university musical. Audience members are sometimes asked to play certain characters, or to be a part of a dance troop. By the end of the show everyone in the room is on their feet dancing and singing along in what is a fitting end to this intense and celebratory piece.
Hot Gay Time Machine is a show which does not stand still. It sprints from one joke to the next, from dance routine to musical number, with unfaltering speed and force. This is a showcase of unadulterated pride and is a joy to watch.
Hot Gay Time Machine
Underbelly, Cowgate – Belly Dancer
6-12 August, 14-26 August
Photo Credit: Underbelly Press Office