Red Bastard: Lie with Me, VAULT Festival

https://assets.londonist.com/uploads/2015/02/i875/a4682785-red_bastard-pinup-original.jpg

by guest critic Lauren Gauge

Swan, dirty pony, or pervert? What kind of lover are you?

Through scintillating physical comedy and personal probing questions uniting, dividing and cross-examining the audience, the truth and the lies are uncovered one by one, social construct by social construct. Who made the rules of love, and why if none of us know who made them, do we follow them*?

*Most of the time.

It is racy, it is raucous, it is Red Bastard. As agile and watchable in dance as he is in conversation, his grasp of form is eloquent, charming, and thrillingly visceral.

Swashbuckling from red Lycra-clad clown to stripped down human, the show masterfully deconstructs what the rules of theatre are and the lies one has permission to tell on the stage. But the rosy beast negates that privilege with a knowing playful preference to discover and nurture a greater forthright relationship, with you. He wants you to be with him, to trust him, to dote on and digest him. He is a devilishly delicious provocateur. Equally, he is hungry and his show goes up at dinner time.

Eric Davis is the phenomenally talented performer pickpocket behind the paunchy, unitard-wearing creature. Who knows how many audiences Red Bastard has raided and devoured, but whoever you are and whatever you’re prepared for, know the foreboding charm offensive conceals a terrifyingly inescapable talent for exposing reality and your secrets are on the menu. Be open, be responsive, be brave and you’ll survive feeling brilliantly rewarded. The veracity of the show is based on the integrity of the audience. But the real accomplishment is the energetic weaving inquisition with which Davis lurches through his toolbox of techniques to comedically explore our flaws, encourage acceptance and enjoy the audience’s authentic connection in return.

He isn’t scary, he is lovely. What is unnerving is the surprisingly articulate evolving afterthought about whether something as unequivocally physiological as love, could be a social construct.

Red Bastard: Lie with Me runs through 4 February.

The Play’s the Thing UK is committed to covering fringe and progressive theatre in London and beyond. It is run entirely voluntarily and needs regular support to ensure its survival. For more information and to help The Play’s the Thing UK provide coverage of the theatre that needs reviews the most, visit its patreon.

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