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Review: Diane Chorley: Modern Love, The Flick (Ed Fringe 2022)

The Flick spends most of the year as a car park just off George Square, but once a year it transforms into the go-to night club of the fringe. Decked out with the glitter ball you’ve seen on everyone’s Instagram (guilty as charged), a checkered floor and a couple of palm trees, everyone is going down The Flick.

Maybe this transformation can serve as an on-the-nose metaphor for Diane’s beautiful show Modern Love, a show for people who can’t always be their authentic selves during the day, for people who belong to the night.

Joined on stage by her fiendishly good guitar playing sidekick Milky, Diane has the audience in the palm of her hands and holds us with such warmth and care that as soon as the show was over I booked tickets to her late-night cabaret Down The Flick in order to spend some more time in her glow (it's a beautiful night out by the way). This evening though, she is here to tell us the story of how she came to own the most successful club in Canvey Island. Originating as a working mens club in the 80s, The Flick was run by a tyrannical lady who would turf people out that didn't look right. After being turned away on her eighteenth birthday, young Diane had a dream of earning the big bucks and buying The Flick outright, turning it into a place where everyone could drink and dance the night away.

The story of Diane's rise and fall and rise again is brilliant, a hilarious tale packed full of famous faces from the 80s (Shane Ritchie and Des Lynam both regulars at The Flick) which Chorley leads us through with her trademark wit and immaculate comic timing. Her songs, paeans to togetherness and acceptance, are bangers in their own right and well-worth a stream on Spotify.

Chorley's anecdotes are far-fetched, delightfully so and delivered with a wink and a smile, yet at its core Modern Love has a message of warm solidarity, of welcoming everyone to our own metaphorical clubs, whatever they're like, of coming together with love and acceptance and letting the real ale pour, alongside the tequila sunrises. In the words of our immaculate host: it's bleedin' gorgeous.

Modern Love was on at Edinburgh Fringe. For updates on Diane, head to her website here.

Photo by Mike Owen

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