Stepping into the Assembly Underground venue, the audience is transported to another place and time. Performer/living legend (as described on her social media) Diane Chorley returns to Edinburgh, bringing her famous (and unfortunately fictional) 1980s nightclub to the stars The Flick – decorated with palm trees, neon signs, and gold streamers – with her for a night of character comedy, storytelling, and brilliant 80s-esque live pop music.
Joined by on-stage sidekick, DJ, and musician, Milky, Chorley is here with Modern Love, the musical storytelling journey of how The Flick was conceived, almost destroyed, and subsequently resurrected. The character feels fully realised and nuanced, reminding us of a Queen Vic extra (or should I say, star?) who is warm, oddly mesmerising, and just a tad off-kilter. She narrates in a colloquial style, as if we’ve just popped round to her living room for a cuppa, and is able to land bizarre and hilarious punchlines and spur-of-the-moment improvisations. She endears us easily and creates a fictional world we’d desperately love to believe and be a part of with her throwback references and message of acceptance.
Modern Love is more than a standup set or storytelling piece, though. What raises Chorley’s game much higher is the musical element. Resurrecting some of her 80s ‘hits’, she performs brilliant synthpop, funk, and ballads that captivate. Some of the numbers use lyrics that make us laugh, while others have us questioning whether or not they were real bangers thanks to their catchy flair. Highlights include The Night, Duchess, and the titular Modern Love, the latter of which has the audience on their feet, such is the irresistible charm of Chorley, who even greets us all individually at the set’s close, making us feel the love was real and not just for show.
Whether you’ve seen Chorley before and know the character or not, Modern Love is inviting and hilarious. We laugh, dance, and even feel a little more connected thanks to the performer’s charm and her story of diversity and self-love. The Flick is definitely the place to be and Chorley is the most fabulous hostess in the city.