Red Bastard

Red Bastard

by Katharine Fry

I’d heard of Red Bastard’s shock tactics from a friend and approached the Pleasance Forth with equal parts of fear and excitement. Choosing a seat in the second I row I was, almost, ready to be picked on or picked apart. Red Bastard burst through the stage, his grotesque misshapen red form like a pulsating Louise Bourgeois sculpture on legs, instantly demanding that we become ‘bigger’, pitting sections of the audience against each other and doling out punishment in the form of wet willies. Then he got down to serious stuff – who do we think we are and what do we really want? His sweaty sarcasm gave way to a seemingly sincere mission which demanded something even more frightening from his audience – honesty.

It was a high octane hour of dark clowning and philosophical probing that kept me alert and guessing, hoping for interaction while fearing exposure – in fact we had a lovely chat about my interest in making walk-in tornadoes. Other audience members were reduced to tears, encouraged to seize the day and take life-affirming action. The only bum note was struck when ol’ Red started tearing strips off the tech girl in a way that seemed artificial and unnecessary. His real magic lies in his sheer presence as a performer and in his powerful ability to shake up his audience on a hundred different levels.


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