Penny Arcade: Longing Lasts Longer

Penny Arcade

Soho Theatre

Underbelly, Cowgate

From 06 August 2015 to 30 August 2015

Rating: ****

Review by Philip Fisher

Penny Arcade is less a breath of fresh air and more a force 10 gale, who could easily blow the less sturdy away.

To describe her views as forthright is understating the case. The adopted New Yorker says what she thinks with a vigour and self-belief that many will envy.

The performer’s delivery falls somewhere between stand-up comedienne and radical, tub-thumping politician, which ensures that audience members will be kept on their metaphorical toes for the full hour.

Having attacked cupcakes, Miss Arcade swiftly moves on to even more poisonous targets.

In this tirade, gentrification is the main victim. Why, this feisty lady wonders, are we all falling prey to advertising executives and their efforts to make anyone over 25 believe that they are past it?

This kind of attack on all that society values has a long tradition but in the past was usually the currency of the young, most of whom would soon outgrow it to become right wing politicians a generation later.

As a child of the sixties, Penny Arcade is now 65 but still behaves and lives as she did in the heady days when sex and drugs and rock ’n’ roll were her stock in trade.

Her credentials are good too, casually dropping the names of Andy Warhol, Quentin Crisp and hundreds of AIDS victims into the breathless but articulate performance.

The lady with the vibrant red wig's final message is to be yourself, which few could deny makes perfect sense.

The lively performance is considerably enhanced by a wonderful soundtrack, carefully choreographed to fit the words.