During the first Covid lockdown, actor Rob Madge rediscovered old home videos of their childhood performances as Disney princesses which turned out to be a heart-warming viral hit on Twitter. A year later, this became the premise for their own solo show My Son’s a Queer (But What Can You Do?) at Turbine Theatre in London which has now become a sell-out hit at Edinburgh Fringe and is about to transfer to the Garrick Theatre in London’s West End.

The show’s success is easy to understand. Madge is a delightfully engaging performer with a constant twinkle in their eye. Interspersing the show with some of the original video clips on a big screen above the stage, Madge tells the story of their childhood growing up in Coventry with a mum and dad who overcame any reservations about their stagey child to be supportive and accepting. This safe haven contrasted with the outside world where little Robert, like many other children, was bullied and criticised for not conforming to gender and societal norms.

Directed by Luke Sheppard, the show is very funny and at times heart-breaking, a joyful and uplifting story about being true to who you are. Rob, who made a splash in the recent tour of musical Bedknobs and Broomsticks as Norton the fish and started their career as the Artful Dodger in Oliver! and Gavroche in Les Misérables, also weaves in some charming songs with music by Pippa Cleary. (In case anyone is wondering, the title is a slight tweak on a line from a song performed by the monstrous Thenardier in Les Misérables.)

Staged in a re-creation of a living room, the show loses none of its intimacy in moving from the Turbine to the 400-capacity space of the Udderbelly upside-down purple cow. With trans and non-binary people currently under attack, this is a timely show calling for not just compassion but understanding and acceptance of people for who they are. The standing ovations each day suggest this is a message that many agree with.

My Son’s a Queer (But What Can You Do?) runs at Underbelly at George Square until 29 August 2022 and then at London’s Garrick Theatre from 21 October to 6 November 2022. Tickets for Edinburgh at underbellyedinburgh.co.uk or edfringe.com and for London at nimaxtheatres.com.