Tenderpits (1 star)

This article is from 2012


Uncomfortable and alienating autobiographical show

A man dressed in a Where's Wally-style hat and a huge, dirty nappy serves dinner to two teddy bears. Surprisingly, this is the most accessible scene in Anthony Johnston's willfully obscure one-man show.

Tenderpits is ostensibly autobiographical but it's hard to make out Johnston's story amidst all the screaming, wanking and singing. This is a peculiarly choppy and angry show. Johnston speaks with animals, dresses up as the Little Mermaid and talks about sex. A lot.

The bare facts just about make it through. We discover Johnston was born in Canada, moved to New York and found life tough. He is also obsessed with computer games and wizardry. Sometimes these themes seem very important and, at other times, completely irrelevant.

Johnston has also suffered real tragedy, losing his sister and grandmother in 2010. Perhaps his grief is still too raw. At one point Johnston screams out: 'Everyone gets cancer … nobody gets cancer.' It feels like he is using theatre as therapy and makes for an extremely uncomfortable and alienating production.

Underbelly Cowgate, 0844 545 8252, until 26 Aug, 9.30pm, £9.50--£10.50 (£8.50--£9.50).


  • 1 star

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