Live review: Hedwig And The Angry Inch @ The Kazimier

Posted on 7 June 2010
By Amy Roberts
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It pretty much goes without saying that The Kazimier is the perfect venue for a musical based around the exploits of an East German transexual rock star.

It’s always had that underground-grot-grandeur look to it which you can easily imagine a nouveau Dietrich smouldering about in, and whilst it’s played centre stage to a wealth of extraordinary performances from a number of nop notch bands and musicians, it’s yet to be fully utilized as the theatre space it has such potential to be.

Cue opening act Jessica And The Rabbits – a sultry, musical burlesque act which takes reference from classic cabaret and flips the finger at the modern burlesque performer with little else to offer than a quick clothes drop and a couple of tired swinging nipple tassles.

Backed by a full band and two scantily clad, torn tight dancers – who aren’t afraid, by the way, to stare you directly in the eyes until you’re a quivering, tongue tied wreck – Jessica is a blast of talent and charm, seducing the audience with a merriment of well toned saucy classics delivered in a honeyed voice, and occasionally from the lap of a terrified looking man.

Suffice to say then that the audience is well oiled by the time the Lodestar Theatre Company’s production of Hedwig And The Angry Inch take to the stage, and it blasts, amuses and touches at a quick-fire, furious pace.

Whilst it remains dedicatedly faithful to the original stage show, concept and movie, the production also cleverly adapts itself to Liverpool without becoming too garish or cringe worthy, making reference to Hedwig’s ex-lover and rival Tommy Gnosis playing up the road at the Echo Arena, as well as Hedwig’s witty asides wherein the failed rock star quotes verbatim attacks against her character from the public, this time in a thick Scouse dialect.

The songs are perfect, with major kudos going out to the full backing band who also remain in full Hedwig-loathing character and blast every note out perfectly, as well as Ben Stott who is note and tone perfect as the broken and humiliated Hedwig, often flitting seamlessly and admirably between the portrayal of characters amid his storytelling arc.

Stott is at times delicate and almost harrowing showing the darker moments of the character, but also get’s the moments of abject fury, glowering witticisms and energised musical interludes spot on – which considering the show is essentially very much a solo dramatic piece, is an incredibly tough feat.

The performance is such a raving success that a standing ovation and a much demanded encore of Wig In A Box quite rightly ends a near perfect performance which also highlights the outstanding promise of up and coming local theatrical talent.

Watch this space.