If your mental picture of the title doesn’t make you smile, then this bald Scot surely will. My initial reaction to the name of this show was… but why? No one asked you, Gary. Why should a middle-aged bald man sing Rhianna? The question really should be, why shouldn’t a middle-aged bald man with a really thick Glaswegian accent sing Rhianna? There are no subtitles, so it does take a bit of warming into, but once your ears adjust, comedian Gary Sansome takes you on a fun and engaging ride.


Despite the title, there’s not much singing, but for the Rhianna Navy, don’t despair; there’s still plenty of trivia, sing-along opportunities, and of course, an umbrella. The show is a solid hour of interactive stand-up comedy with limited props. It includes a large dollop of commentary on everything from music, popular culture, politics, drugs and sex, TV, movies and booze. Sansome’s interpretations are fresh, and he riffs easily with the crowd, clearly a seasoned vet.


His attempt at incorporating local places (like Armadale as Perth’s drug dealer capital) may have fallen a little flat, but he adapted, and quickly moved into more certain territory. Audience participation is a big part of the show, and Sansome is fearless with his engagement, definitely not afraid to break the fourth wall. The audience varied across all age groups, and he connected and had a laugh with them all.  He improvised impressively, taking opportunities as they sprang up, from the ghost in the bin bag, to the dutiful bar staff, to the fellow shiny heads in the audience.


I have to admit my Rhianna knowledge is not great, so I had to mime my way through the singalong, but fortunately, it made no difference at all to the fun. His energy is contagious and his quick wit made the hour effortlessly slip by. Even when you only catch every second word through the brogue Scottish accent, you know there was some deep-fried gold in there somewhere.


Recommended for anyone who wants to laugh. Even if it’s simply that you enjoy listening to the glorious Glaswegian accent.


Bald Man Sings Rhianna is on for another month at the Aberdeen Hotel. Tickets are $20 and you can get them here.


3.5 bald heads out of 5


Words by Elaine Hanlon // @elainehanlonart

Elaine is an artist and writer. I’m not weird, I’m an acquired taste.


Image courtesy of FRINGE WORLD Festival.


Woodside Petroleum is a principal sponsor of FRINGE WORLD Festival. Pelican has been a long-time supporter of the Festival, and will continue to show its support. However, the Magazine feels it is unethical for Woodside Petroleum to remain a principal sponsor of FRINGE WORLD, given the current climate emergency, and Woodside’s ongoing contribution to climate change.


Other Festivals have demonstrated that ethical sources of funding are possible – you can read more, and sign the petition, here: https://www.change.org/p/fringeworld-side-with-the-climate-and-drop-woodside-petroleum // #fossilfreefringe #fossilfreearts // Arts and Cultural Workers for Climate Action

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