Amanda Palmer (4 stars)

This article is from 2009

Amanda Palmer - HMV Picture House, Edinburgh, Sat 22 Aug 2009

Photograph: Punky Little Monkey -

HMV Picture House, Edinburgh, Sat 22 Aug 2009

With spectacular support from Zen Zen Zo, a unique and terrifying part of the five-star dance spectacle, Zeitgeist, Amanda Palmer gives herself a lot to live up to. A proper cabaret entrance though, slowly stepping down the stairs of the Picture House in full 1930s trappings with horn accompaniment is a special start that the former creative force behind Dresden Dolls takes glee in.

Her uniquely passionate audience of misfits, punks, toffs and dandies gives her the freedom to fully live up to the seduction, tease and humour of a show built on the burlesque, and offering a show to match her songs.

Alongside Dolls' classics like 'Missed Me' and solo efforts like 'Astronaut', we're treated to storytelling from her recent book, co-authored by current beau, Neil Gaiman. The man himself even makes an appearance, stepping in as roadie to gift Palmer with her treasured ukulele.

Amanda's sister, Alyson, too shows up to sing backing on a particularly effective 'Delilah', her frail, unlessoned voice all so more poignant in a tale of denial in an abusive relationship.

Coming here without knowing Palmer's work beforehand may have been an overwhelming experience of confusion and notions of being far too under-dressed. But her work and life inspire a devotion in her fans that come in their hundreds, as the show becomes of series of in-jokes, stories and guest-appearances all too welcomed by all in attendance.

It works well, and contributes to a show that transcends musicianship into real performance. This stuff needs to be seen at the Playhouse.

Amanda Palmer (Dresden Dolls)

Following her sold-out gig at Edinburgh's Cabaret Voltaire, the Dresden Dolls' lead singer Amanda Palmer returns to play her biggest and only performance at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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