Adam Kay @ Pleasance Courtyard

Adam Kay brings out the bleeding hearts in all of us (while stemming the blood flow)

Review by Sophia Shluger | 10 Aug 2016
  • Adam Kay

Cleverly poking fun at medicine through singing, piano-playing and storytelling, former physician Adam Kay offers a laugh-out-loud glimpse into the real life of an NHS doctor. A natural, he’s the kind of intelligent comedian that keeps you wondering if his last double entendre meant patients or patience or both. It becomes quickly obvious this piece has both brain and heart, as we learn, Kay is both clearly acquainted with both organs.

The show reminds us of life’s fragility as he wittily recounts his experiences dealing with horrifying diseases and medical accidents. It is both profound in its honesty and relateability, and accentuated by his spot-on, finessed delivery. Recognisable cover songs (rewritten with much better lyrics) suddenly morph into sing-alongs about everyone’s most feared diseases – a macabre variation on Everlasting Love is one of the top crowd-pleasers. Then there's an unforgettable poem juxtaposing grammatical conventions against the Latin spellings of lesser-known diseases.

A twist at the end – a self-aware emotional end to an Edinburgh hour – uncovers the personal and sincere need for this show folded into a wider political context, which brings Kay full circle. Fingering A Minor is a profound, deeply personal story that successfully cuts to the heart of the subject matter.

Adam Kay: Fingering A Minor on the Piano, Pleasance Courtyard (Cabaret Bar), 3-29 Aug (not 10, 17, 24), 6.40pm, £6-14