Tolerance Takes a Beating in Extreme Burlesque; DANCE

The Evening Standard (London, England), April 16, 2009 | Go to article overview

Tolerance Takes a Beating in Extreme Burlesque; DANCE


Byline: SARAH FRATER

JAN FABRE: ORGY OF TOLERANCE Queen Elizabeth Hall, SE1 .. . . . .

SARAH FRATER

JAN FABRE has a reputation as a radical and it is much deserved. Most productions promising provocative material make do with the F-word and same-sex nudity, barely beginner grade by Fabre's standards. The Belgiumbased theatre-maker pushes at what used to be called decency, with a kind of extreme burlesque that mocks our rampant materialism and moral incontinence.

Think of a mix of Abu Ghraib and a pornographic Hello!.

In a programme note, his work is described as dragging us along by that which is "simultaneously disgusting and tantalising".

His method is to make our excesses so funny that we forget we are watching a masturbation competition where the thoroughbred participants are goaded by their ejaculatory trainers.

The five men look like Croatian thugs and the four women like Helmut Newton models, and they go hog-wild, with chunks of the action unprintable in a family newspaper.

Suffice to say that one scene involves what looks like a man inserting the muzzle of a gun into a place that needs a lubricant.

One scene I can describe features a woman humping a designer handbag, being humped back by a designer sofa then giving birth astride a shopping trolley to all manner of bling including a loaded hand gun. …

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