Crystal Rasmussen presents The Bible 2 (Plus a Cure for Shame, Violence, Betrayal and Athlete's Foot) Live! (4 stars)

Crystal Rasmussen presents The Bible 2 (Plus a Cure for Shame, Violence, Betrayal and Athlete's Foot) Live!

credit: Thurstan

Powerful and intimate celebration of femininity and self-love

Best known for being one-fifth of drag queen supergroup DENIM, the beguiling Crystal Rasmussen strikes it out on her own in this solo show that transitions seamlessly – almost imperceptibly, at times – between Crystal's origins and that of Tom, their real-life persona. While the ageless Crystal was raised by wolves in the Ural Mountains, having exhilarating affairs with Rasputin and Mr Floppy, Tom grew up in northern England, full of secret desires. Fuelled by powerhouse vocals and an abiding love for Madonna, The Bible 2 is a powerful tale of moving beyond restrictive, heteronormative binaries of gender and desire, and into living a full life without shame.

The show's relaxed pace and DIY glamour fosters an immediate sense of intimacy between Crystal and her audience; and so, even as she mounts a pulpit, or squirts murky liquid onto herself in a wading pool, there is the sense that we're amongst friends and thus anything goes. Beneath the sparkle, however, the show is propelled onwards by a real sense of heart, and an impressively simple, yet sophisticated feat of storytelling. Their gentle narration shifts between Crystal's breathy tones and Tom's Lancastrian brogue, subtly highlighting their respective journeys but also how much each completes the other.

Thus Crystal's renditions of 'Partition' and 'Power of Love' become not merely a showcase of her incredible vocals, but also a moving celebration of femininity and self-love. Though The Bible 2 may not have the fireworks of a DENIM production, Crystal's empowering message alone is worth all the pyrotechnics in the world.

Underbelly Cowgate, until 25 Aug, 5.50pm, £10–£11.50 (£9–£10.50).

Crystal Rasmussen presents The Bible 2 (Plus a Cure for Shame, Violence, Betrayal and Athlete's Foot) Live!

  • 4 stars

United Agents After a swift rise to fame with her Nobel-nominated book Diary of a Drag Queen, DENIM's Crystal is back. Bringing her pages to life through song, dance and writhing around in a children's swimming pool. A tour-de-force show of a lifetime, 108-year-old Crystal reveals how to escape shame, escape the debt…

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