Skip to main content

Anatomy: Finest Cuts

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
Four stars

If you believe the elaborate fable told from a storybook between acts during this greatest hits compendium from Edinburgh’s live art cabaret extravaganza, the night’s roots stem from the early 1980s. In their boundary-pushing diversity, some of the acts actually do recall what used to be called alternative cabaret during that era. Either way, the eight bite-size performances culled from the last five years of speak-easy one-nighters revealed Anatomy as key players in the city’s ever fertile artistic underground.

Hosted by Anatomy founders Harry Josephine Giles and Ali Maloney, the show opened Rosa Postlethwaite’s tellingly named Without Whom We Would Not Be Here Tonight. Lewis Sherlock followed with The Undercog, in which Sherlock shadow boxed with funding bodies. In Sanitise, Jordan & Skinner choreographed the domestic excesses of cleaning a toilet with wordless wit, while in Uranus, Moreno Solinas sang arias to illustrate sexual need.

The second half opened with Palimpsest, The Cloud of Unknowing company’s furious anti-consumerist mini explosion of noise, dry ice and crazed choreography. Xelis de Toro calmed things down with Until the Cows Come Home, in which one man in search of himself follows the call of a cow bell.

It was the final two works that were most affecting. It’s Not Over Yet saw Cultured Mongrel Dance Theatre’s Emma Jayne Park act out a bittersweet comic meditation on being diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphona. Finally, in SEX – SEX – SEX, Sara Zaltash gathered some of the audience into a circle for a ritual purging involving Zaltash incanting cut-up lyrics of classic love-lust pop songs in the dark. Illuminated only by body-paint, she pleaded with the audience to discuss and challenge every line. Both performances were fearless examples of a night that dissects body, mind and soul in devastating fashion.

The Herald, May 14th 2018

ends

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Ceildh

Tron Theatre, Glasgow Three stars
One kiss is all it takes for everyone to understand each other in Catriona Lexy Campbell and Mairi Sine Campbell’s new play. Linguistically that is, as ancient and modern are brought to rollickingly intimate life by the Gaelic-based Theatre Gu Leor (Theatre Galore) company in the Tron’s Vic Bar en route to an extensive cross-Scotland tour. The set-up is the sort of ghastly tartan-draped corporate function whose perma-grinning hostess Lisa makes bogus claims of preserving culture while blatantly intent on flogging it off to the highest bidder. Think McWetherspoon by way of Trumpageddon.
With the audience ushered into a cabaret table arrangement by Lisa’s step-daughter Eilidh and serenaded by Eddie’s oh-so-couthy accordion playing, the dirt from Harris is unearthed along with a bottle of David Beckham-branded whisky. This causes the corporate shindig to be disrupted on an epic scale by seventeenth century poet Mairi Ruadh. Which is when both the kissing an…

The Duke

Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh Four stars
Shon Dale-Jones seems like a very nice chap. You can tell from the way he welcomes each member of the audience into the theatre, shaking them by the hand to a soundtrack of energising 1960s feel-good soul. Such a personable approach helps create a warm and intimate atmosphere, so when he sits at a desk with only a laptop, a volume control and us for company, you can’t help but be charmed from the start of this hour-long foray, both into his own fantastical mind as well as the discursive set of first-world contradictions it lets loose into the world.
It begins with a Royal Worcester porcelain figure of the Duke of Wellington on horseback, which Dale-Jones’ dad bought in 1974 for £750. This would make it worth more than £8,000 in today’s money if his mum hadn’t broken it while dusting. This is just one more thing for Dale-Jones to think about as he attempts to apply a script doctor’s ruthless critique onto a film script he’s been working on for a deca…

This House

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh Four stars
Five years is a long time in politics just as it is in the theatre. When James Graham’s epic reimagining of one of the most pivotal eras in late twentieth century British democracy first appeared in 2012, its depiction of the aftermath of the 1974 hung parliament in Westminster chimed with a then current coalition. Half a decade and a couple of referendums on, Graham’s dramatic whizz through to 1979’s successful vote of no confidence in the Labour government now looks like a warning.
Jeremy Herrin and Jonathan O’Boyle’s touring revival of a production first seen at the National Theatre begins with both sides of the House marching en masse in their grey suits and twin-sets down the aisles of the auditorium before cutting a well-choreographed rug in formation. As the Labour and Tory whips mark out their territory away from the chamber, this proves to be one of the few moments of unity in a breathless yarn that picks at the old-school gentleman’s agree…