Jim Rose Circus
Flat return for Fringe legend
This article is from 2008.
The return of the Jim Rose Circus to the Fringe has been heralded with all the fanfare of a second coming - a strange deification, considering the show is set in Hell.
Sadly, the carnivalesque sideshow atmosphere of yore has been obliterated in favour of overtly sexualised escapades. A tired-looking Rose plays the Devil, surrounded by scantily clad minions and Warthog, a heavy metal band whose members will do anything to get through the gates of Hell.
The result is a muddled mix of the commonplace and the truly ludicrous. The first stunt of the evening, in which Rose swallows and regurgitates a series of razor blades, simply doesn't get the crowd's blood pumping. And when one of his female performers imitates a mental health patient and takes a knife to her genitalia to the tune of 'Only Women Bleed' - after pretending to masturbate on stage - the audience reaction is a mix of nervous laughter and blank-faced disapproval.
Padded out with metal covers - 'Highway to Hell' and 'Welcome to the Jungle' both get a look in - and completely bereft of any sense of wonder or amazement, this once-lauded spectacle could effectively have wrecked its reputation as one of the most celebrated acts on the Fringe. 'I didn't want to come back to Edinburgh until I had a show that would top all my other shows,' Rose crows at one point. You should have stayed away, Jim.
Udderbelly's Pasture, 0844 545 8258, until 25 Aug, 11.45pm, £12.50-£18.