Red Bastard

Eric Davis

Assembly George Square

From 01 August 2013 to 26 August 2013

Rating: *****

Review by Seth Ewin

This is the Bosco tent, George Square and this is Eric Davis who leads an amazing double life, for when Eric paints his face and dons a grotesque red suit, an amazing transformation occurs. Eric is Red Bastard. Despite his name and alternative methods, Red Bastard is like Banana Man prepared to save ordinary people, not from painful deaths but from painfully boring lives.

Red Bastard took Glasgow's Surge festival by storm three years ago at the Arches. The whole experience came as quite a surprise to the audience. For this show, the act has had to be squeezed into a tighter time frame. Also with Fringe word-of-mouth audiences quickly learn what to expect giving Davis, who clearly likes to make an impact, a potentially bigger challenge.

The shorter show and less surprised audience do not diminish this act by America's premier bouffon. If anything, the audience's knowledge only adds to the tension, which is present in the room right from the moment the Red Bastard's hands first appear through the curtains. The shorter set simply makes Red Bastard work faster and, if anything, manages to push the audience further.

There are some walk-outs and, be warned, this not a show where you can just sit at the back as a passive observer. Everyone is involved, no one is safe and you may spend the show on the edge of your seat, never quite sure what is going to happen next or what Red Bastard will ask you to do. 

Incredibly adept not just as a physical performer but also lightning quick verbally to deal with any mouthy audience members. This is someone who can not just dominate a room but push people to thinking about and changing their lives. The joy of the show is just seeing how far people will go, with a little help from this very shrewd clown.

Take a risk, go see this show, for as the Bastard says: risks equal rewards, and this can be a really rewarding show, but it does depend more than a bit on you.