Julian Clary: The Joy of Mincing / St David’s Hall / Saturday 16th April 2016
Yesterday at the St David’s Hall, gay comedian Julian Clary brought his The Joy Of Mincing tour to Cardiff, marking his 30 years of working in comedy. The set was basically a one-man show with Clary himself, in which he tells members of the audience old stories of his personal life, his career, his sex life, his passionate relationships, and how he nearly got his MBE from Her Majesty The Queen.
The show was structured into two parts. The first part had Julian exploring his experiences with drugs, especially the time he experimented with crystal meth for the first time in New York in the early 1990s, waking up surrounded by unknown men. He then recounted a similar experience in a rural hamlet in Kent last year where he found drugs in a car ditched in a pond that helped him write his children books. His overall message for the audience on that subject was don’t do drugs! Drugs are bad!’ Then he explores (in detail) his close relationship with his partner Rolf who he has been with for the last 12 years, recollecting the great dramas of their partnership.
He then remembers the time he saved the legendary Dame Joan Collins after she nearly drowned in her own swimming pool in the South of France. Julian ⎼ being the saviour ⎼ tells the story in a grotesque and mind-boggling way, graphically detailing how he gave her the kiss of life.
The second part of the performance involved audience participation, with Clary encouraging everyone to sing along and getting three poor individuals to come on stage. As part of his MBE experience, he and Welsh opera Singer Katherine Jenkins were invited to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen. However, as we predict, he didn’t end up getting his award due to unfortunate and embarrassing circumstances. As a result, he created his own MBE award and picked out individual members of the audience worthy of the award, one man working at Co-Op, a woman who runs a brewery and the third engaged to his male partner. Clary made them all wear his outrageous and flamboyant costumes from the last 30 years in style with their own MBE award.
What we can take away from Julian Clary is that he is not your average comedian; there is no middle ground. Only both sides of the extreme – and he isn’t afraid to say his mind. He is a comedian with whom we can laugh and cringe in humiliation, sometimes all at once.
Image credit: Fiona Hanson, Press Association