Hey You!

Joe Nawaz and Accidental Theatre combine for an immersive self-improvement satire which with a little finessing could take the comedy world by storm

Hey You! is a funny, thought-provoking and satirical look at society's obsession with aspiring to perfection. Writer Joe Nawaz, director Emily Foran and actor Aaron Hickland have done a great job bringing the energetic, nonsense spouting Brad Peelawn to the stage.

On my arrival at the venue, the American motivational speaker is circling the foyer and then up in the bar the male nutrition and men's body shape specialist is shouting down his mobile phone at levels not experienced since Dom Joly entered our lives with Trigger Happy TV all those years ago. 

It's my first time at Accidental Theatre in Wellington Buildings in Wellington Place close to City Hall. What a great space. No normal process to purchase a drink - you buy a book from the shelves and the drink comes free.

The 40 minute 'pre-sen-tation' sees Peelawn enthusiastically speak of 'junk food jihadis', men's struggles with low testosterone and the importance of 'women pleasing lu-bi-do' and later captures thoughts from the audience with a giant net, during the net evaluation segment of the performance, naturally.

The one man show is so fast-paced it seems like the audience has only been in their seats for five minutes when it ends. Perhaps intentional given the head-melting intentions of gurus such as Peelawn in real life.

Nawaz was inspired by his own experiences when sitting down to create the character. The festival publicist extraordinaire and former journalist, admits he felt the influence of the bombardment of late night informericals and what they were saying to men. 

Keen to explore how people are 'constantly being told that they aren't happy with themselves', Brad Peelawn was born to take advantage of those sucked into the idea they can think themselves thinner, cleverer, or whatever other ideal requires reaching.

After decades of 'exploiting and deranging women's senses' men are now targeted and three times international best-selling author Peelawn is the man for the job at Accidental Theatre's building tonight. Not quite the equality we had been hoping for but this is the world we live in.

The team behind Hey You! has achieved its goal of bringing theatre to audiences in an interesting and funny way, without so much as one mention of the Troubles.

I would love to see Peelawn take to the streets of Belfast to 'perform' and I bet, rather worryingly, there would be someone so moved by his absurd messages they would be ready to sign away their hard earned dollars out of desperation to achieve the body beautiful.

Hey You 8.jpg

Following the lively performance I do a little market research of my own, which I am sure Peelawn would approve of. One man's verdict is that Hey You! is 'a sensitive portrayal of the crisis in 21st century masculinity as caused by the lack of real man's jobs and everybody getting fat.' I couldn't have put it better myself. And it's very funny too. 

With a few tweaks and a little fleshing out, if you'll excuse the reference, and a little bit of creative finessing Hey You! will take Edinburgh audiences by storm next year. It's exactly the right type of performance for the weighty subject matter. 

If you are a man who hates himself as much as the salesman would hope for then keep an eye out for the 'Brad Peelawn Academy of Male Beauty and the Sciences' YouTube channel which is expected to emerge in the coming months.

Practical advice it will probably be short on but it will give you a laugh and we all know, rather than self-loathing, protein shakes, crazy diets and gut busting equipment, that is definitely the best medicine (combined with eating a balanced diet and moving more, according to those pesky experts).

Good luck men, you're going to need it.