Review: Red and Boiling by CalArts Festival Theater

Rarely has so much heart and ambition amounted to so little.

★★
theatre review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Red and Boiling by CalArts Festival Theater
Published 11 Aug 2018

This fusion of drag and shadow puppetry is "based on hours of interviews conducted with queer and non-binary individuals". Not that you'd be able to tell this from a single performance, as the show has been structured in a way that feels improbably slight.

Our hosts Hasadick and Rosay kick things off with several minutes of crowd work, but their improvisational abilities are limited to pronouncing check-shirt clad members of the audience 'honorary lesbians' and telling us we look attractive. Hasadick is an orthodox Jewish drag king, a fun concept, but one which hasn't been fleshed out in any way. The pair's personae are sadly nondescript and set the tone for Red and Boiling as a whole.

When Rosay leaves the stage, his co-host is left to recite a series of verbatim lesbian coming-out stories, partly concealed by a veil. These are all quite moving in their own right, but the purpose of the reading is never really clear. We learn that this show and its tie-in podcast are intended to document and give voice to the queer female experience, but there's very little curatorial vision at play here. The shadow puppetry accompanying each account is primitive and confusing, while the inclusion of an underutilised foley artist is baffling. Rarely has so much heart and ambition amounted to so little.

Next showing ...

Red and Boiling
13:15, Today
Venue 13, Edinburgh