John-Paul Stephenson

Review: Lost Voice Guy: Voice of Choice – The Cluny 2, Newcastle

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Based on this outstanding performance, Lost Voice Guy is set to be one of the highlights of this year’s Fringe.

Diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a child, Lost Voice Guy communicates using his iPad. You might be forgiven for expecting this show to be one of those worthy-but-uncomfortable hours that are ten a penny at the Fringe. However, Lost Voice Guy (real name, Lee Ridley) quickly sets us at ease, and the synthesised voice gradually feels natural, as if the sound was coming from his lips.

In this Edinburgh debut hour, Voice of Choice addresses aspects of his disability, from his diagnosis, mischievous bid for X-Factor stardom, and how David Cameron has spent the last three years systematically screwing over those with disabilities.The show’s message is profoundly positive: if someone with no voice can become a successful stand-up, then anyone can achieve anything if they put their mind to it.

The sympathetic awws swing sharply to shocked oohs as Lost Voice Guy’s dark mind is unleashed. It’s sometimes like listening to Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey impersonating Frankie Boyle. Going from the glint in his eye, Ridley clearly relishes that no-one will dare to challenge or heckle him; he’s loving every minute as he plays around with taboo.

We wouldn’t normally review a ‘preview’ show, but the beautifully written ‘A Voice of Choice’ feels ready-to-go to the Edinburgh Festival. With several more previews scheduled to hone the show further, it is clear that Fringe-goers are in for a treat.

Date of live review: Saturday 6 July (at Creased Comedy Festival)

Lost Voice Guy: Voice of Choice is at the Edinburgh Stand III/IV, 2-25 August (not 5, 12, 19). Click for further preview dates throughout July.