Fringe REVIEW: Epicene @The Brunswick

Brian Butler May 25, 2019

I had to look up the definition of epicene. It means ‘having the characteristics of either sex’. This is important for the story which singer/songwriter Paul Diello tells us with his wonderful acoustic band and backing singers.


HE tells his packed audience that he felt as a child he wasn’t in the right body. His identification is with the female singers whom he clearly worships. The stage is festooned with tee shirts showing images of Madonna, Bjorn, Joni Mitchell and many more.

And his show pays tribute through a wide range of cover versions – everything from It’s in his kiss to I feel the earth move under my feet.

Put up a parking lot is one of my favourites in this show which has a kind of Boy George feel to it, but the highly talented band which includes saxophone, violin and guitars amongst its line up takes it all to another level. The sound and the harmonies are electric and powerful.

Paul, complete with glittery butterfly embossed jacket and large red hat is much larger than life, and clearly at ease with both his identity as his tremendous voice carries us through this highly enjoyable repertoire.

In between the songs, we get very funny stories about his childhood and adolescence in Worthing – including the time when he had “fun” with a schoolboy friend and somehow their adventurous encounter ended up on his father’s telephone answering machine. This is rendered even funnier because his father was in the audience and hadn’t worked out what the boys were up to.

I had to leave at the end of the first half as my alarm was going off at home, but Paul is well worth a visit. If you miss him at the Brunswick pub in Hove during the Fringe, (until Sunday, May 26), you can catch him with his backing singers the Harlequeens, at Ye Old Black Horse, Rottingdean on July 5.

Review by Brian Butler

To book tickets online for performance on Sunday, May 26, click here: