Browse reviews

Edinburgh Fringe 2012

The Pain of Desire

Temper Temper

Genre: Burlesque, Cabaret




Low Down

Temper Temper evoke the titular pain of desire in this sumptuous Lynchian cinematic music performance.


A strange man dressed in a tuxedo hovers beside the queue of people waiting to see the show, swigging from a hip flask and eyeing people up carefully, setting the scene for the show to unfold.

The audience is ushered into the lecture theatre at Summerhall, a room filled with dark wooden tiers and panelling and a huge skylight reaching towards the ceiling upon which projections of moving clouds are shone, flickering in sepia tones overhead. Facing the chairs is a trio of musicians; a pianist with a mop of hair akin to Sideshow Bob, a red-shirted bassist with a clown-like bowtie and eyeliner ringed eyes and a drummer with hair carved into a beak-like curve over his face. They are a motley crew of performers, all waiting in anticipation of Her arrival.

She is Wendy Bevan, the singer; a diva who glides in carefully, cat-like and haughty, a vision in shimmering jet-black beading and jewellery to complete the quartet of Temper Temper. Reminiscent of Edith Piaf, Wendy’s image is aspects of Alison Goldfrapp, Louise Brooks and Isabella Rosselini all at once. Standing in front of the musicians she surveys the audience with so much disdain it becomes almost pity.

The picture this paints is like a scene from a David Lynch movie, with the glorious singer pooled in light she almost glows and the strange musicians appear ghouls awaiting their masters bidding.

Slowly, she starts to sing and weaves a story of pain, regret, childhood memories, simpler times gone, longing and heartache one after the other. At points the noise from the music (which contains shades of Sonic Youth, Nina Hagen, Portishead alongside of course, Piaf and Goldfrapp) is deafening in this space, echoing and reverberating with the driving force with which the pianist plays and the drummer pounds to the point where Bevan’s voice is lost in the melee leaving only her posturing and incredible stage presence as a point of focus.

All the while overhead the images change from clouds to mirrored clowns and from feverish dancers to stars in the night sky. The performance is marred slightly by the loss of the lyrics- at the points where they are audible they poetically paint pictures until they are lost again in a wave of furious sound.

The lingering sensation after the performance is over and Wendy, having walked out theatrically at the end, leaving only the band leering at us once more, is one of remorse and loss; like having spent time with the most wonderful creature and knowing that you will never do so again.


Show Website