Review: Hedwig and the Angry Inch

A Wicked Little Town Presents
Greenside, Royal Terrace, Edinburgh – until August 29th
4 Stars (4 / 5)

Six inches forward, five inches back, and four stars for A Wicked Little Town.

Flirtatious, witty and tragic – Hedwig and the Angry Inch is an all singing, all stomping, mascara drenched tale of troubled beginnings, eternal love and a botched sex change. The story is told and sung by a bitter, drunken drag queen from East Berlin – Hedwig – and her morose band of misfits – The Angry Inch.

Fantastic use of facial expression and vocal control from Hedwig herself moves the script between some audience based ad-libbing and some lip quivering loneliness. As an actor – great presence, as a singer – grippingly energetic. Yitzhak plays well with masculine body language, a real attitude and a great singing voice for belting out those killer notes. The band is tight with The Angry Inch holding the stage beautifully in a state of terminal discontent – the disaffected lead guitarist is particularly convincing.

The venue is lacking, with some of the action taking place out of the line of sight of most of the audience – perhaps a good choice would have been an actual bar, leaving Hedwig to prowl about for her victims instead of squinting up at them from a bright stage… A little more cash for the props department would smooth out some creases and create a much sleeker appearance overall. It’s fine to brand as punk rock, but in a show where true filth is part of the fun, a raffia hula skirt really doesn’t cut it.

Audience participation is minimal and hilarious. You will laugh, you might well cry and you are sure as hell going to have those hands in the air for the finale.