Sunday, 28 August 2016

Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2016 Theatre Reviews 9 - Blow Off - Traverse Theatre, Four stars / Blush - Underbelly, Three Stars / All the Things I Lied About - Summerhall, Four stars

In an Edinburgh Festival Fringe dominated by radical feminist riot girls, there have been few shows more explosive than Blow Off, A.J. Taudevin's fearless dramatic treatise on what drives a woman – and the fact that is a woman is key here – to blow up a very male symbol of corrupted power in city centre of sleek and gleaming towers.

In what Taudevin describes as a piece of guerrilla-gig-theatre, she is accompanied onstage by musical director Kim Moore and Susan Bear and Julie Eisenstein, aka Glasgow alt-punk duo Tuff Love for a rollercoaster glimpse from the frontline of one woman's mind in a music-punctured monologue that howls with barely suppressed rage.

In the current political climate, where responses to terrorist attacks have included policemen stripping a Muslim woman of her burkini on a French beach, Taudevin's punk rock assault on patriarchy is as incendiary as it is necessary. Taudevin's delivery in a piece co-directed by her and Graham Eatough is a piece of eloquent rage that crafts the text's internalised stream of consciousness into a piece of artful fury. Moore, Bear and Eisenstein's presence are essential to this, their music a drivingly relentless pulse to Taudevin's poetics.

In the spirit of a live fast, die young existence, Taudevin's creation played for two shows only, but can be seen at Dundee Rep on September 20 before it returns to the Traverse on October 12 and 13. This is followed by a date at the Paisley Spree on October 22. Miss this music theatre timebomb at your peril.

Run ended.

The rise of revenge porn as technology has become increasingly accessible to all has made the headlines for all the wrong reasons of late. In Blush, five increasingly dizzying inter-cut monologues lay bare a myriad of damaging possibilities that can result from such indulgences. Written by Charlotte Josephine and presented by Snuff Box Theatre in association with Sphinx Theatre as part of the Underbelly Untapped season of new theatre, the show's no-holds-barred approach is both exhilarating and exhausting.

As the show flits between male and female perspectives on online etiquette and how lives can be destroyed by a private moment made public, it whirls and burls its way throughout with an intensity and passion that points its finger at those who make capital out of their predatory power games even as it lays bare the emotional fall-out left behind.

Runs until August 29

Domestic abuse comes in many forms. Just ask writer/performer Katie Bonna in All The Things I Lied About, a one-woman meditation on the effects everyday dishonesty can have on our relationships, our mental health and ultimately on the world in which we kid ourselves as much as others that everything's alright.

It begins comically enough, as Bonna embarks on double bluff of a show that starts as a TED talk pastiche and ends up being an intimate insight into the sort of hand me down behavioural tics that can leave some pretty serious scars. In the wrong hands, this sort of autobiographical confessional could be a painful experience for all the wrong reasons. In Bonna's hands, however, its honesty is engaging and, as she gets the audience involved in her story, empathetic, so the seriousness of what comes late on in the show is never alienating in Joe Murphy's production. Of course, as believable as all this is, Bonna could be lying through her teeth even as she charms us into submission in a show that gets to the truth regardless.

Runs until August 28
 
 
The Herald, August 29th 2016

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