Hedwig and the Angry Inch
  • By Pete Shaw
  • |
  • 6th Aug 2010
  • |
  • ★★★★★

Hedwig and the Angry Inch has a cult following. I know, since I consider myself part of that clan. Since first seeing the show in Edinburgh nearly a decade ago, it’s one I seek out when productions are announced. The tracks from the show regularly appear in my ‘most played’ playlist in iTunes. It’s a brash-but-beautiful cocktail of ballsy rock and touching torch song that make the hairs on the back of my neck tingle when I hear the first few notes of the songs. I am a fan.We’re at a Hedwig gig in a flea-pit venue next to a much grander stadium where the rock idol Tommy Gnosis is playing. Hedwig’s choice of location is not a coincidence – there’s history between the pair, and what unfolds is Hedwig’s bitter autobiography. Steve Wickenden in the title role delivered a deliciously authentic portrayal of the tortured tranny with a chip on her shoulder right off the Berlin Wall. He’s brazen when the songs are big, but gets right into the audience when the moment calls for intimacy. Hedwig’s husband, Yitzhak – following tradition and played by female actor Laura Mellor – is never unconvincing as the mentally abused partner who has put up with this rant for years. This production gets right back to the style and anger of the New York Squeezebox Club original, an emotional firecracker that’s set to go off at any point. I watched on the first night, and Edinburgh being Edinburgh, there were technical teething problems with lighting cues and the animation project (a key part of the show which add layers of meaning to the lyrics that make this show so unique). But to criticise for those problems would be unfair, as if you go visit Hedwig (and you definitely should), those issues won’t be in the show you see. And even with a technical slip up or two, the meagre audience on opening night where loudly appreciative. Go see this. Once word gets out, it’ll soon start filling up.

Reviews by Pete Shaw

Good Grief

★★★★
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★★★★★
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★★★★
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★★★★★
Christmas in Leicester Square

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★★★★★

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Performances

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The Blurb

The internationally-ignored song stylist from Berlin is back. Join Hedwig and band on their anatomically incorrect Rock Odyssey. With lovingly hand-drawn projections and soulful sweat, whether you like it or not, it's Hedwig.

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