THEATRE / Sweet Temptations - Queen Elizabeth Hall, South Bank

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The Independent Culture
The disappearance of any genuine British theatrical avant- garde over the last 10 years has made European exponents look immensely glamorous from this side of the Channel. No-one more so than Belgium wunderkind Jean Fabre, whose epics such as This Is Theatre Like It Was To Be Expected And Foreseen (eight hours of running on the spot) and The Power Of Theatrical Madness (four and a half hours of squashed live frogs, naked princes and Wagner) have more than justified the wondrous grandeur of their titles. Not so, with Sweet Temptations - a tawdry performance in which Fabre appears to have got his just desserts.

At three and a half hours, it is shorter than previous works but is light on all but the most banal meanings. On a dark stage flanked by decks of one-arm bandits, the flotsam and jetsam of the 20th century is portrayed - the perverts and sadists, masochists and bullies. 'Is the decade at the end of the world or another excuse for a party?' is the refrain, as Iggy Pop's Lust For Life is insistently repeated. Athletic young women move their limbs with piston-like precision in marked contrast to the roaring bedlam that mostly engulfs the stage. Two identical twins sit in motorised wheelchairs discussing owls. Finally the cast - presumably bored into oblivion by the pair's droning of Reader's Digest philosophy - turn into a howling mob, and strip and abuse them.

Judging by the number of empty seats at the end, this was one party that much of the audience wished they had missed.