Andy Bell - Torsten, the beautiful Libertine comes to the Theatre

March 9th 2016
London, Above the Stag Theatre, UK

What is the tale of the beautiful Libertine all about?

Andy Bell's 'Torsten, the Beautiful Libertine' **** People kept asking me "what was that all about", and I have to say I was not entirely sure. I think it was about living a debauched life and finding the beauty of everything around you even if the persons life was a little seedy. I think 'Torsten, the beautiful Libertine' is a fun cleverly written play, containing some superb perfect performances from its three leads Andy Bell (Erasure), Peter Straker and Lana Pillay.

The play was performed in the Above the Stag a Gay, Lesbian, and Transgender venue down a very dark alley (not ideal and a little scary on this stormy night) I have to say the train noises during the performance from the track over the venue, just added to the atmosphere of the performance. The pop up feel of the venue felt intimate, with a post apocalyptic chic feel to it, and the punch was tangy but deadly.

With one swig you would be knocked out, well I was going to put tonights show was a real knock out, and for some it was with many people swaying around the venue in delight. the atmosphere was really friendly and nice and all spirits were brought up but the wonderful character of Sue Pollard (Hi-de-Hi!) who was in attendance. This made the evening far more magical if not a little serial.

The backing music for the show was all played live and the stage set  up was well thought out with bric a brac from the 70's and 80's not to mention a sofa with  F..k off sprayed on it. Andy Bell the star turn shows his determination and boldness wearing a sash and belting out strong points of view, while singing beautiful melodies like they came from a nursery rhyme.

This can be shown on the almost title track 'Beautiful Libertine', which is really magical and the cleverly written 'My precious One' which is the new single. The songs are a little different from his work with Erasure but in a way equally as good, with Andy making you feel you have known them for years.I really like the union jack chair he sits on and prances around during the performance, and you get the feeling he is almost like a narrator in this topsy turby tale of witty banter. 

I think the play though is held in the right place, I am not sure a straight audience would get all the innuendo jokes which are a big section of the play. Making the target audience quite niche. Even though I think this, I would say I think anyone could enjoy 'Torsten, the beautiful Libertine' because its a lot of fun. well if you are over eighteen, I think some of the words and terminology should be heard by people of a younger age.

You do feel a lot of drag queen humour was listened to while writing the script and their is nothing wrong with that - Lana played a delightfully over the top drag with a slight air of Terrence Stamp in 'Priscila queen of the Desert'.

her performance left me with a similar feeling of World worn restleness.  In the second act we reached a place beyond the bottom of the joke barrel, beyond being jaded, a place that moved beyond the props of 70's nostalgia and to a question - is this it? is this all there is to this life of mine?  something sighs and feels resigned to the fates.  

There was a jolly moment part way there in which Peter and Lana randomly play out a commercial for a pot noodle type product called toss pot providing as with a perfect metaphor for Lana's life as a sexual commodity and ultimately something which is disposable once the contents is consumed.

This was a really enjoyable fun evening, so if you are a fan of Andy Bell and Gay culture then you must go see this brilliant play. I wish I had seen 'Torsten, the bareback Saint' first, but you don't really need to... not enjoy it. I hear it's going to be a trilogy of plays, so you have one more to come, which I look forward to... and maybe even seeing the three in one go sometime in the future.

Review by Dan Devour and Dezadie 

Check Out! the Video for 'My precious One' Below...


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