Ballad of the Burning Star

Nir Paldi

Theatre Ad Infinitum

Pleasance Dome

From 31 July 2013 to 26 August 2013

Rating: *****

Review by Robin Strapp

Award-winning Theatre Ad Infinitum has brought a searing, new, explosive Berlin cabaret-style piece of theatre that tackles the serious subject of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict head on.

This is a complete contrast to last year’s hit Translunar Paradise but is also destined to become one of the most talked-about shows in this year’s Fringe.

Nir Paldi, the writer, director and leading actor, is outstanding. He plays the drag queen Star, dressed all in gold, and is our host for the evening and reminds us that, “it’s possible that someone may set off a bomb during this performance”. He begins to check bags in the audience in case there may be a terrorist in our midst because that’s the life he lives in his homeland Israel.

This harrowing political satire is powerfully told through the cabaret burlesque genre. It is a story about the history of the Jews, their persecution throughout the centuries and the foundation of the state of Israel.

Paldi reveals a heart rendering story of Israel and his young brother Eithan, their father who was a soldier in the war with Lebanon, his mother and the grandmother whose whole family was killed in the Holocaust.

Star is supported by her multi-national divas the Starlets who sing and dance with such high energy and skill that it is exhausting to watch. The choreography is stunning with Camp David (Adam Pleeth) providing the stirring varied music.

But Star is also a controlling bully demanding more from her troupe and comes out of role to criticise their performances.

But this is not a biased piece of storytelling and the Palestinian side is given a fair airing. The powerful ending leaves the audience to decide for themselves the moral rights and wrongs of the conflict.

This is brave, feisty and thought-provoking theatre that should not be missed.