Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Theatre: Power Ballad ★★★★½

Julia Croft
Blue Room
Until Saturday 3 Feb 

It’s quite something. Patti Smith’s Pissing in a River, a left field power ballad par excellence, danced by Julia Croft, half naked, face obscured by rock chick hair. A mike stand. A mike.
It’s a sudden insight. Rock ’n’ Roll has two phallic symbols. Those guys and the hot guitar are at one end of it; those women and the microphone at the other.
Croft, whose prescient, Hollywood-busting If there’s no dancing at the revolution I’m not coming was a highlight of last year’s Fringe, and this show, simpler in structure but even more entertaining and fierce, surpasses it.
In its finest moments – an extraordinary, distorted play on the word “theatre” and the horrible threat of “feminist theatre”, and some over the top karaoke (We Belong to the Night, How Can I Get You Alone, the hilariously-impossible-to-sing-along-to No More I Love You) the mood of the audience went past mere exuberance to genuine euphoria.
It was a truly exciting experience, even for a straight white male who was, I guess, the target, or at least the butt, of both the ferocity and the gags.
I understand that Croft brings her own microphone to performances. It must be made of titanium, because it gets a fair hammering as she uses it as chalk, beats it on the floor and all parts of her body, goodies it, swallows it whole and produces - with the aid of some self-manipulated electronica – some of the wildest sounds your going to hear on a stage.
Last year I compared Croft’s ferocity and humour to Bryony Kimmings’s Fringe smash, Sex Idiot, from 2015. Even more so this time around. Hopefully, like Sex Idiot, tickets to Power Ballad are going to be impossible to get by Saturday night’s last show. Make sure you’ve got one of them.

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