In what is perhaps the nichest drag act in the history of drag acts, Tom Lenk takes to the stage as the supernatural moonchild that is his Tilda Swinton impression. Tilda’s answered an ad for a spare room on the “List of Craig”, and she’s going to make a film all about new flatmate Walt’s (Byron Lane) tragic life. As to be expected, hilarity and fabulous nonsense ensue.
Swanning in, donned in white lace and a coat that would be fit for a catwalk were it not made entirely of bubble wrap, Lenk immediately captivates the audience. We’ve come to see Tilda, after all, and indeed we can’t take our eyes off of her. This ethereal, fairy-like and self-centred incarnation of the actress is an absolute riot, reclining against the front row of the audience, stealing their drinks and never missing an opportunity to talk up her career. Frequently returning to in-jokes, like Tilda’s deathly hatred of actress Kate Blanchett, Lenk can have the audience giggling at the snap of his fingers.
What we didn’t come to see, however, is a somewhat uninspired play with otherwise uninteresting characters that make no attempt to endear the audience to them. The brilliance of Lenk’s dramatic Tilda is only disturbed by the rest of the script going on around him; one might wonder whether the entire play is just an excuse to get the Tilda character on stage in the first place. Nonetheless, Jayne Entiwistle, Mark Jude Sullivan and Lane’s characters do serve an important purpose in setting up the extreme contrast between the mundane and the absurd, reminding the audience quite how brilliantly silly the concept of Tilda is.
In truth, though, Tilda Swinton Answers an Ad on Craiglist is the epitome of the Edinburgh Fringe: you come for the ridiculous concept, and leave wondering why you’re surprised it makes no sense – at least you had a laugh along the way. Although the story leaves much to the imagination, there’s more than enough imagination in Lenk’s Tilda act to satisfy anyone. This isn’t the show you come to for a high-concept script; we all know we’re there for nothing but a good time.
Tilda Swinton Answers an Ad on Craiglist is on at Assembly George Square Gardens (Venue 3)
Until August 25th at 21:00
Tickets available here
Image: Greg Macvean