Edinburgh Fringe digital review: Dickin’ Around

Michael Lyons with Unmuted Participants brings his solo show Dickin’ Around to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe – it’s about sex, desire, porn, love, loneliness, sensuality, and being gay.

“What does it take to satiate a heartbroken 20-something homosexual with a penchant for deep-diving into the sensory stimuli he finds along the way? In this hour-long piece, Michael lets us into his private world, and invites us to confront and ruminate on the beautiful, the icky and the confusing together.

This show is about sex. This show is not about sex. This show is for anyone who’s ever felt lost at sea and exhausted themselves swimming to shore. Dive underneath the raunch of this show and you’ll find a universally relatable, tender underbelly.”

A dive and float into all the stimuli that bubbles around us in our incognito lives, in Dickin’ Around Lyons has developed a raunchy, subversive, and intense piece of storytelling into which we are invited in for one night only.

Filmed at the Hollywood Fringe in June 2022, it benefits from a live audience who are clearly amused, if sometimes awkwardly so. In this show, Grindr and solo masturbation take their toll in both the physical and psychological on our narrator.

Promotional image from Dickin' Around

In a world where a date and encounter can be over and done in forty-five minutes, a runtime of fifty-eight minutes might seem indulgent, but stick with this and you’ll have a window into the world of the indecisive, self-deprecating twenty-something gay man.

In a work where body image is the quickest way to get noticed or neurotic, Lyons’s attempts to capture sexy nude shots draw out a wry amusement. It seems rather sad that the invention of the selfie has not taken much of a step from the dick pics of the early noughties.

There are moments where the fourth wall is broken and both performer and audience enter the dance of decision. It’s a very effective way to retain the interest.

Dickin’ Around is a piece which thrives on its openness and honesty; it is about the personal and the vulnerable and the hard work we all do to be noticed and accepted by others, and by ourselves.


*** (and a half)