AJ Holmes: Yeah, But Not Right Now

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Underbelly, Cowgate
Aug 8-11, 13-25 (16.30)


I shall preface this review with a quick bio of AJ Holmes as he is someone who is very famous in very specific circles, but largely unidentifiable to anyone without very astute musical theatre knowledge. Holmes was cast in the Broadway production of The Book of Mormon when he was 22, he has a bloody incredible pair of lungs on him, and he can play multiple instruments with admirable precision and pizazz. He is also a composer and performer for StarKid Productions who produced A Very Potter Musical, a comedic Harry Potter pastiche which you may remember accompanying just about everything you did in 2009.

Now 29, with a few ‘Fringeable’ experiences under his belt, Holmes commands the stage for just over an hour of imaginative showtunes peppered with bouts of ego-driven stand up. Yeah, but Not Right Now is essentially a one-man stripped back musical about Holmes’ life. He put great effort into making us gush sympathy on him (for his upbringing, his career, his love life), all the while bellowing showtunes about his annoyingly cushty life – and I think that is the joke. Holmes displayed a very precise self-awareness, but there were some members of the audience who were rather lacking in this trait. Holmes has the kind of face that is utterly irresistible to Madison, 23, from suburban New-Hampshire.

Type his name in on YouTube and the first hit is a playlist entitled “AJ Holmes being just generally adorable”. About twenty percent of the seats were occupied by these adoring fans, and they supplied about ninety percent of the cheers. They made it kind of difficult to decipher the moments which were intending to hit a darker note, as each pause was filled with the same devoted laughter. I didn’t mind it though, it contributed to understanding his tale of the life of a young Broadway star and gave poignancy to his song about dealing with sudden attention from adoring female fans.

Holmes is clearly a bright guy and pulls off some genuinely funny songs, there were moments of Flight of the Conchords style absurd humour dotted in there. Conversely, there was an entire showtune Facebook joke which would have been passé a decade ago, but as the kind of guy who could get people queuing up to lick his boots, why the heck not?

Eilidh Sawyers

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