Edinburgh 2013: Banksy: The Room in the Elephant - A self-referential take on a troublesome truth
Tachowa Covington lived in a water tank in the Hollywood hills for seven years; then British graffiti artist Banksy sprayed “this looks a bit like an elephant” on it, and he was thrown out: it’s valuable art now. This is the basic, if troublesome, truth - first reported in The Independent in 2011 - that Tom Wainwright’s play takes as its starting point.
It apparently presents Covington’s life story: a one-man show, performed by Gary Beadle with swivel-eyed, wide-grinning intensity. He directly addresses us in giddy LA-slang - all “damn”s and “a-holes”s and “ma man”s. It’s a charismatic, if occasionally OTT, performance (his chat with a plastic toy rat is somewhat annoying).
But Banksy - as perhaps befits a show which takes its name from this tricksy, secretive artist - is more slippery than an elephant at bath-time. It tells tall tales of Covington’s life and then knocks them down, playfully following, then pointing out, then busting the conventions of Hollywood storytelling with all it’s highs and lows, twists and neat resolutions. Covington slyly smirks at the audience’s desire to hear about “the real Banksy”; he even mocks the idea of a playwright wanting to dramatise his story, hungrily gobbling up someone else’s life for their own artistic ends.
It’s thought-provoking on the urge to make art from the every-day, or irksomely tail-eating, depending on your appetite for self-referential work.
Till 26 August; box office 0131 556 6550
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Is Apple's iCloud safe after leak of Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities' nude photos?
- 2 Joan Rivers: 'Palestinians deserve to be dead'
- 3 Perez Hilton apologises for Jennifer Lawrence naked photo leak
- 4 A teacher speaks out: 'I'm effectively being forced out of a career that I wanted to love'
- 5 Mexican woman becomes world’s 'oldest person' at 127
Unseen Charlie and the Chocolate Factory chapter deemed 'too subversive' released
Strictly Come Dancing 2014: Gregg Wallace joins Mark Wright, Pixie Lott and Judy Murray in line-up
Doctor Who, Into the Dalek, TV review: Classic sci-fi adventure has blockbuster spectacle
Nicki Minaj suffers wardrobe malfunction during MTV VMAs performance with Ariana Grande and Jessie J
Al Pacino's The Humbling and Manglehorn, film reviews
Rotherham child sex abuse scandal: Labour Home Office to be probed over what Tony Blair's government knew - and when
Robin Williams Emmys tribute led by Billy Crystal criticised for including 'racist' joke about Muslim woman
The Rotherham child abuse scandal is a tale of apologists, misogyny and double standards
What do immigrants really think of Britain? Polish immigrant's Reddit post goes viral
Do you realise just how foolish the UK looks?
With Douglas Carswell joining Ukip, my party has taken another giant step forward