Sisters, Such Devoted Sisters, Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh

Sex and a rather seamy side of the city
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The Independent Culture

Drag queen Bernice Hindley inhabits Glasgow's violent and unforgiving gay underworld. Russell Barr performs his own show, Sister, Such Devoted Sisters, with such sheep-eyed, heartfelt conviction that you imagine it all to be horribly true.

Bernice, who has assumed the identity of Myra's niece, knows all about the seamy side of life, her stories introduced - on a soundscape otherwise unambitious - by the sound of snarling beasties. Bernice/Barr flutters her eyelashes, flicks her blonde hair, rearranges her shapely legs and sips tea, calmly regaling us with anecdotes.

Exploding pigeons, hearses supplied instead of wedding cars, Jack Russell terriers at the wheel of a car are comparatively innocent; relatives who cannot be named "for legal reasons" are not. Referred to simply as Mr or Mrs Puppy, their habits range from shop-lifting to paedophilia and pornography, intercut with seamy tales from the city: sex with the fraud squad boss, sadism on the streets and surreal experiences with offal.

As Barr slips between the mundane, the humorous and the horrific, he pauses meaningfully, as if to emphasise or reflect on the shocking element of some of his material. It is not always a comfortable 45 minutes but it is vivid, compelling and realistically presented.

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