The idea of Wilfredo: Erecto! shouldn’t work, but be very grateful that it does. A wannabe Igleslias, a legend in his own head, Wilfredo is here to take us into the midnight hour with some of his considerable back catalogue. (Even including a collaboration with Phil Spector which has to be reduced a tad, given that it’s being performed only by Wilfredo and an acoustic guitarist.)
As the eponymous Wilfredo actor Matt Roper sports an abrasive set of protruding teeth, trousers pulled up to his nipples, shift unbuttoned halfway down his chest and hair clinging greasily to his forehead. It’s not intended to be a subtle portrayal, but it’s rendered with too much heart to be a caricature.
He personally greets the crowd before shouting "seal them in!" as the show kicks off, acoustic guitarist Ignacio Fernandez providing sprightly accompaniment for the singer to serenade some of the lucky women in the audience during an extended and ever more amusing opening number.
Roper plays Wilfredo with just the right amount of sympathy and sleaziness, making the sparsely talented entertainer enormously entertaining, musical character comedy that isn't too condescending towards its subject and which never takes itself too seriously. It’s a joyful and grin-inducing hour of entertainment.
Apparently something of a pop god back home, the singer recounts ludicrous excerpts from his life story in between numbers, calling for blackouts and then lights up from the venue's technician to reveal himself in ridiculous poses, vanity not something that Wilfredo’s lacking.
Vitally, the songs work - they're extremely amusing, and feel authentic enough that you can imagine a few working even outside of the context of the show. Roper’s performance marks him out as one to watch, and if you find your Fringe experience sagging there’s few better ways to end the night on a high note than by getting yourself a bit of Erectro.
- Wilfredo: Erecto! is on at Underbelly at 11.30pm until August 28