Note: This review is from the 2019 Fringe

The Creative Martyrs amble onto the stage with their props and instruments and you would be forgiven for thinking you were in a Laurel and Hardy rehearsal. Alas, they are practitioners of musical cabaret that might not have wide-ranging appeal, but can be an outright blast for those receptive to the genre.

The performing duo are not limited to the stage. They go into the crowd, behind the crowd and even out of the venue altogether. Every show, they tell you, is completely different; an exhaustive display of furious reinvention. They boast that The Creative Martyrs have been performing since 1883, and make it their aim to bring the past back into the present. They do so through the unavoidable appeal of a ukulele and the low riffs of a cello. The musical numbers can all feel somewhat similar, but incorporate differences that make each one a treat to follow.

The Martyrs are strange, quirky performers with their white face paint and rag tag suits. They love to address the audience with bizarre statements and proclamations, having them shout back on cue. These attempts at getting the audience involved occasionally fall on deaf ears, perhaps lacking the obviousness that would trigger an immediate response. For the small audience that fits inside Fingers Piano Bar, however, it is a unique and charming way to indulge in cabaret. It takes a short while for the crowd to get fully on board with their off-the-wall antics, but this is an act well suited to underground, late-night entertainment. Laughs of awkwardness are drowned out by those having a sensational time as they soak up the glorious weirdness that the musical Martyrs have to offer. 

With a show basking in red light that is unafraid to make political points (although these do not dominate affairs), the Martyrs are auteurs of the weird and wonderful. Anyone who dislikes audience participation should perhaps stay away, and not everyone will get readily on board. However, if you live for the le strange and crave the curious, the Martyrs are seriously good fun.