Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens

Stemming from Names Project Aids Memorial Quilt and Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology, this show made its breakthrough on the popular stage in the Late 80’s at the height of the Aids epidemic that robbed the world of a generation of people.

The Lincoln Company bring their take on the song cycle featuring songs and monologues. Every monologue is written from the perspective of a character who has died from AIDS and the songs represent the feelings of friends and family members dealing with the loss.

This is a powerful and emotional production that the cast deliver with a deep sense of compassion and understanding on the toll that AIDS took on humanity, both at the time of writing and today. Despite it no longer being a death sentence to have HIV or AIDS, the stigmatisation and discrimination of a positive diagnosis is sadly still much in evidence.

Clever and inventive direction sees the actors joining the audience waiting for the show to start, creating a calm, open atmosphere and one which is friendly and allows the audience to be receptive to what that are about see.

The various monologues mix together pathos, heart rending emotion and at times some excellently executed comedy. The selection of songs are wonderful; although the show is slightly trimmed to get it into its 55 minute time slot, they have chosen the best of the songs on offer. Particular highlights include ‘Heroes All Around’ and ‘My Brother Lived In San Francisco’. The singers individually are very good, but when they join together for four part harmonies there are few pitchy notes and one or two bum notes. If these can be corrected it will improve the show. The music for the show is all pre taped which given the size of space they are performing in its understandable, though live piano accompaniment would again lift the production to a whole other level.

What is on offer is both beautiful and humbling; its understated direction makes the conclusion of the show all the more powerful. The enthusiasm of the cast had the audience joining in at the end to celebrate that no matter what, life is for living. Moreover we have to thank those that continue to fight the battle against HIV and AIDS and it’s thanks to productions like this that the message stays in the public agenda.

This is truly a production with heart and compassion and a truly worthy addition to anyone’s Fringe Diary, so check it out.

Reviews by Brett Herriot

theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

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Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

The Blurb

Bill Russell’s energetic, affecting musical of sung monologues, reflecting on people who have lived with, and died from AIDS. Celebrates those loved and lost. Captures consequences for family and friends left behind. www.lincolncompany.co.uk

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