With The Beast Stuart Bowden brings a barking, dark-eyed, nervous energy to the tale of a creature/monster/beast that lives on the outskirts of town. Bowden’s beast is a frenetic, dancing absurdity, and the artist himself a consummate storyteller-flanuer, expressing a Shaun Tan-esque millennial pre-occupation with suburban magical realism. The show is placed firmly in contemporary parlance, using a ukelele and looping as the main method of constructing twee, yet touching, ditties. Whether intentional or not, Bowden revels in the fuckups, shortcomings, and ridiculousness of the method. As a cabaretesqueish performance, Bowden’s vocal performance and lyricism make it a prococious masterclass in smoothly navigating the thematic highs-and-lows of such tragicomic cabaret (prick ears, iOTA !).

Words by Nick Morlet

Stuart Bowden’s “A series of Portraits” runs at the Blue Room Theatre until February 11th.

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