Photo from and the Angry Inch

Written by Stephen Trask
The Kazimier, Wolstenholme Square
26th May - 5th June 2010

Reviewed by Amy Scott-Samuel

Produced and written for the stage at Liverpool's Kazimier club: a revamped '90s dance bar cum circus-cabaret-showspace, Hedwig and The Angry Inch is a rock 'n' roll musical with a twist.

Headed by a post operative tranny named Hedwig, the musical centres on the 'tragi-comedy' that is Hedwig's life. Growing up in Germany with an abusive GI father and a dysfunctional, emotionally devoid mother, the young Hedwig [then Hansel Schmidt] leaves Germany to make his mark on the world, and ultimately, to find love. Upon meeting Luther, an American officer who tempts Hansel with sweets in return for sexual favours, Hansel decides that the only way for him to further his life and career, is to leave his family and fatherland behind, and to try his luck in America. However, there is one small thing standing in Hansel's way...his penis. If Hansel is to make it to America he must first marry Luther, and, in turn, remove his tackle, to make a new identity for himself as the outlandish, hyper-feminine 'Hedwig'.

After a painful and botched sex change op, the newly named 'Hedwig' finds herself in the dazzling plasticity of the U S of A. Within a matter of weeks she is divorced from the American officer. Feeling insecure and lonely, she falls into the arms of an egocentric American rock star, hoping that he will turn out to be the soulmate that she's been seeking.

Throughout the performance, Hedwig offers her audience a dazzling array of tacky costume changes, a string of sexual anecdotes, one too many smutty jokes and a host of songs about ill-fitting wigs, bad sex ops and the need for love. The leading actor does a good job of playing the trashy, flamboyant tranny, but somehow his performance just isn't enough to carry the show. Made up of a two person cast that includes Hedwig, her on/off tranny boyfriend, and a backing band that are fashioned on the cast of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, Hedwig and the Angry Inch is quite clearly a small scale, low budget production.

To sum it up, the performance felt a tad mediocre - more like an American college kids' musical or a poor cabaret act in a midtown American strip joint. Yes it was weird and mildly entertaining, but didn't have the gusto to keep me enthralled. I'd give it a 2.5/5.

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