Edinburgh Fringe 2010
Hedwig and the Angry Inch is rock musical centered around a made up band which is fronted by a transgendered singer from East Germany. It premiered in 1998 with a book by John Cameron Mitchell and music and lyrics by Stephen Trask and has gathered a dedicated cult following.
Hedwig and the Angry Inch has a cult following and not being on that band wagon makes it easier to see this show objectively. Traditionally Hedwig is played by a man, however in this production the role is alternated between a man and a woman.
Unfortunately this is not a risk that pays off. Fringe Review saw this
show in Brighton with the man in the iconic role of Hedwig and gave it 4 stars. In Edinburgh it fell to Emily Simpson to command the attention seeking character. Simpson rather than riding at the front of the wave in control lets the current suck her under and her several hesitations and blusters that took her out of character and brought the audience back to earth with a rather violent bump.
The band are excellent, really setting the scene and playing in great harmony. The standout performance however comes from the exquisite Laura Mellor as Yisak. Her melodic notes ring through the theatre with height and grace and she well and truly rules the show. It is disappointing that the build up to her big number is dampened slightly by the fact that she feels like the star from moment one. In saying this Simpson has a stellar voice and belts out her numbers with gusto. The patter in between is what lets it down.
The projections on the back wall did little to add to the piece and felt rather unnecessary. Perhaps the technical issues didn’t help but that particular theatre space feels quite hollow and although the space suits the show the projections would probably have to be more encompassing and visually bigger to have a real effect on the audience in that space.
Check this show out as it is well worth a look and once Edinburgh teething problems are ironed out it will go to the next level.