Having taken a straw poll of a number of people who witnessed the Jim Rose Circus in its Nineties heyday, it seems that the ringmaster of the weird has lost the crack in his whip.
Rose's return to the Fringe promised a "party in hell" and many in the audience got something intangible from seeing a woman shoot paint from her behind and from seeing a man turn out to be a woman.
However, restructuring the razor- and glass-eating, power tool-wielding antics of his troupe to tell the story of an Eighties metal band who die after a pyrotechnic mishap and are determined to migrate from heaven to hell, exposed either the limited acting ability of Rose or the fact that, at 52, he's too old to be menacing or demonic. A drawback if you happen to have cast yourself as the Devil.
The band knock out such metal classics as Aerosmith's "Love in an Elevator" and The Scorpions' "Love You Like a Hurricane". Rose, meanwhile, knocks out tried and tested put-downs.
Soggy direction and the shape of venue add to the fact that these sideshow acts are no better housed by this story than they would have been in a cabaret format. That Rose decides to tell the audience what one of his acts does – shooting paint from her posterior – before she does it is a sign of just how hard it has been to generate hell on earth tonight.
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