[author-post-rating] (3/5 Stars)
Torture, execution and varied cooking instructions mingle together to make Trash Cuisine a demented delicacy well worth savouring.
From the moment the first theatrical appetiser is served, this show from The Belarus Free Theatre begins to assault your senses with relish. Blending accounts of death row inmates, torture techniques and twisted eating habits, the troupe creates the most compellingly unpalatable recipe ever seen onstage.
The performers fuse food and violence in an aggressive carnal connection. The most visceral and unexpectedly provocative example is a series of perverse dinning directives that become more deeply distressing with every passing second. Under the veil of a lily white napkin we hear our compere give precise instructions on how to devour a sadistically prepared dish. We’re given explicit details of the culinary torture the small bird undergoes before its final demise, drowning in a dram of brandy.
From then on the sounds of snapping, slurping and putrid mastication are heard amplified around the theatre, interspersed with further distastefully muffled directions. The noise of crunching reverberates from the microphone as this demented chef encourages us to continue eating as the tiny bones break the skin of our lips. The suggestion is that the salty blood will add to the flavours.
By the end of the meal a gnawing horror has gripped the theatre, each tiny sound sending spasms of repulsion throughout the stalls. The ordeal is atrociously transcendent, an exquisitely rendered meditation on the foul decadence of death.
The piece is uncompromisingly postmodern and relies on the razor sharp contrast between the cast’s calm or jubilant tone and the show’s grisly content. Dispassionate assassination debates served over strawberries and cream, execution themed mime artists. These extreme juxtapositions are sporadically effective, alternating between spasm-inducing awe and on occasion an overwhelming disconnect from the performance.
There seems at times to be a limit to how far you can push this twisted topic, a third helping of horrors may be too much for anyone to stomach. Although knowing the company, it would not be out of character to attempt to instigate a foul theatrical indigestion amongst its audience members.
Belarus Free Theatre launches a succulent attack on your sanity, a deliciously depraved evening that will linger on the taste buds long after.
Trash Cuisine played at Pleasance Courtyard as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. For more information please see to the Edinburgh Fringe Website.