"why don't you go fuck a play" Boy George, by Twitter 18.7.2012

Monday, 22 August 2011

Moderately Unbearable

at Edinburgh Fringe
Whatsonstage rating: 2 stars

Whilst deserving some sort of award for the most imaginative Fringe title, the show doesn’t live up to expectations. Whilst it isn’t “quite” unbearable and it isn’t “quite” shite, it came close enough for some punters to leave part-way through which is pretty condemnatory for a 35-minute piece.

Performed almost entirely by one lightly perspiring man in a boiler suit with interactive video, poetry reading, and dialogue rich in non-sequiturs – at one point he says, "if I were to explain this for 47 squllion years, you wouldn’t understand it" – and most of the audience nodded assent.

Despite the opacity of the concept, there are songs, poems and a determined rap about President Mitterrand, but your engagement is not helped by Roberts’ awkward microphone technique or the fact he reads eyes-down from the script, although I did like the ironic reworking of the Grimm's fairy tale as The Elves and the Psychotherapist.

Because of the disjunct of mashed ideas, you may come out of it with a smile raised or a memory jogged, but that feels like a too random result.

This review written for Whatsonstage.com


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  2. The fact that a song about President Pompidou which repeats his name about 47 squillion times, that this could be described as "about President Mitterand" gives an indication of where this review is coming from. This show was no mish no mash but an exploration of the hidden inner world and as you might expect with a theme like that, some of it was abstract and surreal. But never whimsical or empty, there was no opacity - an absence of contrived spoon feeding is not the same as wilful obscurity. I feel very sad about the kind of writing in this review,someone who does not make the slightest effort to engage with what is presented to him because he would rather write in this arch posturing style which he perhaps regards as witty and sharp, "lightly perspiring man" etc. It is neither, it is a lazy grabbing of of the critical put down default template in use everywhere. Why should a guy like this have his voice heard when he has nothing to communicate except a sneaky dishonesty that he hopes will impress those who read it? What could be less cool than such an ego driven and piece of compromised integrity as this review ? Art's goal could be summarised as the attempt to understand truth by means of describing beauty. And yes, even a lightly perspiring guy in a boilersuit has beauty, has eye and ears that detect it everywhere a heart full and a mind that seeks to communicate something from outside the world of over familiar received wisdoms, and which seeks to do this without patronising its audience.
    Yes there were plenty of things wrong with the show but these weren't noticed either. The fact is that this guy may as well have not seen the show at all, didn't notice anything about it. Let the audience rate the shows after seeing them, the role of critic is no longer of any use,there is nothing more for them to do, we'd be the better for the absence of the mean sentiments and distaste for joy that is too frequently all the writing contains

  3. That review got right on my tits last year and just coming upon it again, I felt my heart sink at its mean phoniness, its careless errors, the sheer dull shabbiness and snide cynicism of it .Yuck .