Anatomy – Traverse

So first things first: Anatomy (the cabaret) is not about anatomy (the study of the human body). I cannot stress how much this disappointed your medical student reviewer. However, that was about the only thing to leave me disappointed on this night. 

In this pleasantly performance artsy space inside Traverse theatre, this harkened back to true cabaret: a truly eclectic mix of presentations both odd and inspired. Moments such as a monologue about driving at night set to Canon in D, accompanied by seemingly unrelated images of octopods, or the naked man slowly rotating on a pile of coal, revealing as he does that a veil is literally pinned to his head provide genuinely thrilling moments that would fall under no other category. 

However, some acts do fall somewhat wide of the mark: a ‘rope performance’, involving a woman being tied in a number of different and somewhat erotic ways by a male partner is conceptually interesting but lasts far too long, and so called ‘trash exorcism’ feels like an exercise in self indulgence. This involves micing up an old biscuit tin and rattling a plastic skeleton around inside, whilst repeating random phrases- ‘everyone has a backstory’ indeed- ad nauseum. Again, an interesting premise that lasts far too long, and doesn’t seem to know when to stop. 

Particular attention must be given to LARDS, a seemingly recently formed clowning group, whose physical theatre rendition of Bram Stoker’s Dracula has been one of my performance highlights of the year. I can’t describe it adequately, but suffice to say I have been making ‘blehh’ sounds ever since. 

Finally, the evening is lovingly curated with poise and humour, of not always well preparedly so, by Harry Josephine Giles and Ali Maloney. Their enthusiasm and charm is enough to make the show an enjoyable package, and has kept me intrigued about seeing the next, entirely different offering. 

This is a unique experience, one whose mileage may vary depending on your taste in the bizarre, but certainly one worth sampling at least once. 

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Scott Redmond

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