Anya Anastasia: The Executioners

Anya Anastasia addresses whether we're helping the earth or helping our sense of self in an uneven hour of cabaret

★★
cabaret review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 05 Aug 2018
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Anya Anastasia 2018

In our modern era of "always on" awareness, no amount of yoga can negate the fact that it's hard to find a momet's peace and quiet. Cabaret performer Anya Anastasia and gravel-voiced musician Gareth Chin present an hour of cannot-escapism which starts with lofty expectations. Anastasia descends the stairs donning a headpiece of smartphone-ended antlers, demanding her audience react. She owns the room, live-streaming her entrance, and in the process creating a commanding double presence.

That's where The Executioners really works, when it focusses on the sensory overload which is threatening to hypernormalise violence on a terrifying level. Anastasia mocks social activism with a bubbly persona. She plays the kind of person who Instagrams every KeepCup they own. Her continual mantra of "it's okay" acknowledges just how ineffectual the endeavour is – and unfortunately that ineffectuality bleeds into the show itself.

Anastasia has a beautiful singing voice, hauntingly delicate as she performs a touchingly sincere ballad. It's the tongue-in-cheek stuff that doesn't quite impact the way it could. Too often the lyrics merge into one, and with similarly quirky melodies it's hard to really distinguish any in hindsight. Anastasia hits the familiar punchlines of slacktivism and churns out tired jokes (particularly when it comes to pop culture) as a result.

There are hints of nuance which suggest there's a more polished show here. As it stands, The Executioners's all a bit too on the nose when it comes to social commentary: the equivalent of adding another angry react to a Facebook timeline of similar voices, rather than standing out.