Torsten The Bareback Saint (4 stars)

Beautiful vocals and theatrical songs ensure stunning heady romanticism of Andy Bell music collaboration

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This article is from 2014.

Torsten The Bareback Saint

Who is Torsten? He is diva, cherub and drunk, teetering in four-inch spike heels through the detritus of broken Britain's dreams. Performance artist/writer Barney Ashton and singer Andy Bell have collaborated together on this song cycle, which is at times melancholic and profane, yet there's a sly humour too, satirising the tabloid culture of tits and bingo, as with the song 'Bingo Hall Baby' - nobody does self-deprecation quite like the British.

Torsten is as earthy a narrator as he is otherworldly. Bell's voice is exquisite - richer and deeper now than during his years as Erasure's frontman. He is accompanied by versatile musician Christopher Frost onstage, ranging across musical genres from torch ballads, via jazz, to the kind of electro-pop which made Bell's name.

The theatricality of each song (Bell embodies many characters in gesticulations and costumes) is complemented by Ashton's collected visual montage embodying Britain's history: army men, models, post-war poverty, kebab shops to contemporary binge drinking. Woven into this heady combination are tales from the sauna, club and beach (such as gorgeous torch song 'Weston-super-Mare') where love and lust falter, and all hope evaporates with a new morning. A show for anyone who loves the heady romanticism of Marc Almond, Pulp, St Etienne - indeed, for anyone who loves.

Assembly George Square Studios, George Square, 0131 623 3030, until16 Aug, 6.30 pm, £16-£19.

This article is from 2014.

Torsten The Bareback Saint

  • 4 stars

Neil O'Brien Entertainment Ltd Andy Bell, from pop legends Erasure, takes on ‘the most challenging role of my career so far’ as age defying, polysexual Torsten The Bareback Saint. In this one-man theatrical song-cycle, he delivers musical missives from the hotspots of the memory of a learned, semi-immortal sensualist.

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