Ecce Homo

music review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 15 Aug 2015
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Naughty Nickers (Nick Phillips) is a man who thought, for over three decades, he'd die. But he's still here and he treats his public to his life story in a deeply personal and moving cabaret. He tells how he became a church choir boy, a glittering gay icon and one of he longest living men with Aids. He takes his audience back to the pre-Stonewall era, the sexual liberation of the '70s and the desperation of the eighties.

His anger towards those who failed to respond properly to the Aids epidemic hits hard, just as his survivor guilt when he shows photos of many friends who died. This show is, however, not merely a sad affair. There is hope, love, dreams and a purpose. Effortlessly accompanied by pianist Henry Burnett, Phillips decorates his chronicles with songs from the grand songbook of musical theatre. His voice might not be pitch-perfect, but delivers everything he sings with much bravado.

Phillips rubbed shoulders with all the big names in showbiz, and he loves to brag about that – yes, he met Meryl Streep and worked with Stephen Sondheim, who apparently showed him his affection once. It's childlike, both irritating and adorable, because he still gets excited by it. His story doesn't need the endless namedropping, though. The modern gay history, told through the eyes of a remarkable man, is enough to reduce a substantial part of the audience to tears.