Note: This review is from the 2018 Fringe

Willy Hudson has a problem. It’s quite a serious one. He has erectile dysfunction and it is causing him a lot of anxiety, especially since he is on a third date with a guy he met on Tinder. Bottom is a story that looks at body image, gay tribes, masculinity and sex. It also has a hell of a lot of references to Beyoncé and that can never be a bad thing.

Willy stumbles onto the stage with only a towel wrapped around his body. He asks for some assistance as he puts on some underwear and then gets fully dressed. The haphazard and vulnerable nature of the show is obvious in the opening moments. Will gives a potted history of his life and how he ended up in London and working four jobs just to earn a living. We learn about his time in university and how he was told about different gay tribes and the concept of a “Top” and a “Bottom.” Both these gay identities offer cliche’s, stereotypes and present a patriarchal perspective on same sex male relationships. Willy does not believe in these labels, but never the less has found himself single, in London and using dating app such as Tinder and Grindr. 

Bottom is a funny and brilliantly performed production. Willy Hudson has a down to earth and warm personality and makes the audience feel welcome and safe as he describes his sexual exploits and love of Beyoncé. At times the show feels like a stand up comedy performance, but drama and conflict are never far away. Occasionally he grabs a ukulele and delivers short quirky songs about sex. These moments work extremely well and make the audience endear to the performers bright and colourful personality. The show reaches a climax when Willy tells us about a date that goes incredibly well, and we are back to the first story of the performance and his problems with erectile dysfunction. The conclusion to Bottom is clever and touching and the audience feel like we have just spent fifty minutes in the company of a close friend.