For a music concert advertised as performance art and with the worryingly jejune title The Pain of Desire, one could be forgiven for thinking that this show might be worth a miss. However, it would be a mistake to follow that pre-emptive decision. Should you dare to see it, The Pain of Desire will offer a dramatic, immersive and memorable journey into a David Lynch-like world of deep emotion, rich drama and superb music.
From the queue onwards, a carefully crafted façade of a gothic subculture is sustained for the entirety of the show. The viewer is instantly plunged into a concert that is as much about the characters on display as it is about the messages being communicated.
Moving images flicker across the ceiling throughout but, whilst they do certainly add an element of aesthetic depth to the proceedings, they are redundant given that it’s difficult to remove one’s eyes from the magnetic Wendy Bevan. She convulses as if pained by her own music and only connects with her audience when in song. Between numbers she looks away and it is in these small details that the drama and characters of the show are formed. There is no speaking, only song, but there is a distinct feeling of having access to uncensored and deeply personal insight into a tremulous and troubled star.
Fronted by the porcelain-faced beauty Bevan, whose haunting voice fills every corner of the atmospheric performance space, this show is certainly one to get your blood flowing. The music, performed by Temper Temper and co-written by Bevan and pianist Seiriol Davies, is layered, dense and one could easily spend an unhealthy amount of time picking through the different musical forms and genres on display.
Sadly the illusion is broken at the finale when, after an electrifying musical crescendo which forces Bevan's character to be wrapped in a fur coat and led off stage, she returns, out of character, for a smiley bow. It is only a small criticism, but without it I would have left desperate for more with my pulse still thudding in my ears.