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
tv Jenny Lee may have left, but Miranda Hart and the rest of the midwives deliver the goods
Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites
TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Planes go hybrid-electric in important step to greener flight
- 2 Antonio Martin shooting: Police and protesters clash over teenager's death just five miles from Ferguson, Missouri
- 3 British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
- 4 Hip hop is both racial and political, and for Iggy Azalea to suggest otherwise is insulting
- 5 Man hospitalised with pneumonia after downing eggnog at office Christmas party
British actor Idris Elba cannot star as James Bond because he is black, says shock jock Rush Limbaugh
Rozanne Duncan: Ukip expels councillor for 'jaw-dropping' comments made in BBC TV interview
Germany anti-Islam protests: 17,000 march on Dresden against 'Islamification of the West'
Ukip member gets into Christmas spirit with Union Flag plea to Santa 'for our country back'
BBC director Danny Cohen: Rising UK antisemitism makes me feel more uncomfortable than ever
Alex Salmond has 'broken his word to the Scottish people' says Scottish Lib Dem leader