Torsten the Bareback Saint*** (Assembly George Square, Edinburgh)

Posted: August 9, 2014 in Music, Theatre

torstenThe best way to describe this show is to quote from the accompanying notes: “A theatrical pop-song cycle of ‘musical postcards from the hotspots of memory’ from a semi-immortal polysexual sensualist’s life”. Devised and written by Barney Ashton with music composed by Christopher Frost, the cycle is performed by Andy Bell (half of the pop group Erasure), firstly in a dinner suit and later getting down to glittering underwear. Torsten is recalling his life in Britain of the 1970s and 80s, time spent in depressing places such as rainy seaside resorts and Bingo halls. Film footage from the period backs up the images created in the stark and vivid lyrics of the songs. Bell sings them with passion, accompanied by synthesiser and, occasionally, a saxophone. An hour listening to Bell is an hour well spent, but how we yearn for just a glimmer of joy in Torsten’s miserable life. Definitely not a show to be recommended to the suicidal.

Performance date: 9 August 2014

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