Pussy Riot: Riot Days (3 stars)

Pussy Riot: Riot Days

The revolution will not be performed

Between gig and theatre show, but satisfying as neither, Pussy Riot's performance sets their origin story to a rough soundtrack of pulsing electronics, tribal drumming and saxophone. With an audience happy to cheer quotations from Castro but flinching at water flicked from the stage, this event documents a revolution without provoking a reaction.

The story is gripping, interspersing the detail of the group's celebrated subversion of an Orthodox ritual between fragments of a manifesto that contests Putin's manufacture of consent. Told in urgent Russian, it had the force of authentic rage and an attention to the vicious subordination of protest and while the music circles menacingly, never breaks into either ecstatic resistance or brutal assaults.

The interaction between audience and performers is inevitably the most fascinating part of the gig: a plea for them to behave 'punk' is inevitably greeted by a security guard asking an old man to step down from standing on a seat, and the reverence for Pussy Riot's achievements – and suffering – ensures a respect for the band that cannot translate into parallel activism. The gig itself slips between brilliant storytelling and agit-prop provocation, but the ability of performance not to embody protest but tame it into a commodity is sadly too obvious.

Summerhall, until 19 Aug, 7pm, £17.50

Pussy Riot: Riot Days

  • 3 stars

Russian protest punk-rock collective.

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