WOW's guide to the 2014 EDINBURGH FESTIVALS

Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Comedy review: Red Bastard

Published by petersimpson

Edinburgh Fringe Scotsman review: Red Bastard at Assembly George Square (venue 3), reviewed by Kate Copstick

Red Bastard, aka Eric Davis

I very nearly got my breasts out. That is the irresistible power of Red Bastard. In an hour that simply flashed by (no pun intended), a small and initially bemused audience at this, the Bastard’s first show, were taken on the ride of their lives.

“Something interesting must happen every ten seconds,” he says at the start. That doesn’t even touch the sides. “I have boundaries,” whimpers a girl in the front row at one point. Not here you don’t.

Other people’s boundaries are Red Bastard’s playthings. And he is rough 
with his toys. He bends them and breaks them, and it is wonderful to be there as he does.

I really have no idea what Red Bastard is. He is funny, yes. Even witty when he decides to be. And rude. He cajoles and commands, and when he commands you act. Coquettish and dominating in turn, he has no compunction about silencing the room with a brutal remark to someone who has not come up with the goods he wants.

The air is never empty. Red Bastard fills it with his extraordinary body and its own special choreography, peppers it with commands and observations, and wraps it in what is almost a symphony of audience reactions: laughs and gasps, oohs and aahs, stamps and giggles and the revelations he pulls and pushes from us.

One of the UK’s senior comedy critics was severely molested, a sweet young man made a ladybottom on stage, and by the time we left Red Bastard had a bag full of our deepest desires and dreams.

Now, this might not sound hilarious, but, somehow, it is. But if laughter really is disguised aggression, then for much of the time Red Bastard throws away the former to make something jaw-dropping of the latter. As to where this sits in the canon of comedy, I have no idea. It is – and I use the word advisedly – unique. When I interviewed Eric Davis, he told me that a good Red Bastard show is like great sex. He is so right. It is the next day and I am still tingling at the memory. And I will be going back for more.

MORE INFO: Red Bastard is at Assembly George Square (Venue 3)

Originally published in The Scotsman

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