Red Bastard: Lie With Me (4 stars)

This article is from 2017

Red Bastard: Lie With Me

credit: Steve Ullathorne

Typically provocative but less confrontational hour from the US clown

The Red Bastard turns his attention to love, and the lies people tell while they're chasing it. After an audience interaction bit to establish that no one is 100% honest ('I'll quit tomorrow', 'I loved your show!'), American clown Eric Davis moves impishly through the muddy waters of monogamy, polyamory and fantasy, like the louche John Malkovich in Dangerous Liaisons. 'Is Skype sex cheating?' he asks a girl down the front. 'Did you feel guilty about your affair?' he quizzes someone who's just confessed an infidelity to the crowd of 200.

He's toned down the full-on style of previous years; it's less about bullying the audience into submission, and more about lapdancing them towards liberation. Are they happy accepting the swan rules about mating for life, or do they long to prance freely like a dirty pony, he riddles, gambolling around the stage, licking his fingers?

He's always said the show hinges on how much the audience are willing to play, and based on tonight's sensual mango eating, slow dancing, and a flash of naked willy, they're down for whatever. A standing ovation proves his delicious, sweet but sinister probing style, mixed with bursts of George Michael and Billy Joel, has touched the crowd in all the right spots.

Pleasance Courtyard, until 27 Aug, 9.30pm, £10–£11 (£9–£10).

Red Bastard: Lie With Me

  • 4 stars

Fringe hero, Red Bastard, is back with a shocking and disarming new show.