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Boner Killer at the Yard, London – ‘queer anarchic cabaret’

Erin Markey in Boner Killer at the Yard, London Erin Markey in Boner Killer at the Yard, London

Erin Markey’s Boner Killer – part of the Fierce at the Yard showcase – is ostensibly a cabaret act. Markey plays and sings with musician Emily Bate, as she leads you through a selection of vibrantly surreal set-pieces.

These range from her own funeral to a very specific sexual fantasy. Delivered in a drawl of deadpan east coast Americana, you never know if an anecdote is tripping towards tragedy or joy.

Markey is funny in a way that drip-drips its way into your brain; less slow-burn, more Chinese water torture. She never presents a punchline if she can casually leave it dangling, waiting for you to find it. Markey has a gift for adopting personas and letting them speak for her, shying away from the painful even as she exploits it for our laughs.

There’s delicate writing at play under the flipbook of masks. The same things keep turning up in major and minor key: queer representation, Whitney Houston, permission and lack thereof. There’s a weirdly Salinger-esque quality to it: deadpan but fretful, cut through with intermittent bursts of intense sadness.

At times Markey feels like she needs to be playing to a rowdier room to get the most out of the call-and-response motor of the piece, but any audience reticence is taken ably in her stride and folded into the bewildered rage of someone just looking for a little love.

A seamless blend of diva and neurotic, Markey makes you want to reach out to her with one hand and offer her a stiff drink with the other.

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Verdict
Queer anarchic cabaret full of spiky laughs and musical brilliance
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