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  • Writer's pictureZoë Combe

Bacon 5 *(Edinburgh Fringe Review)

Pleasance Courtyard - Rear Courtyard. 4:45pm

Pip Utton Theatre Co.

Know before you go: t.w. suicide/substance abuse/graphic sexual images. Not one to watch with family members unless you’re ok with listening to graphic sexual scenarios play out whilst sat next to them!

"Undeniably raw talent coupled with a complex understanding of the artist in question birthed both a hilarious and profound performance."

Francis Bacon welcomed us to a raunchy, intimate, and self-indulgent biopic of his life as he gazed back over his living years, gossiping his way through his family, friends, art, and sexual escapades. We were all at once in the intimacy of a hilarious conversation with a dear friend as well as in an artificial purgatory from which he posthumously accounted for his actions. I felt as if I couldn’t get a word in edgeways with this self-indulgent, scandalous, capricious individual, which was a bizarre sensation as I’m hardly accustomed to talking to actors whilst they perform to me, but such was the impression of this larger-than-life artist, and the Fringe giant, Pip Utton, who brought us this controversial character. Undeniably raw talent coupled with a profound understanding of the artist in question birthed both a hilarious and tragic performance.

"A nuanced and extraordinary picture of Bacon's experiences."

Bacon addressed the audience directly, masterfully painting a nuanced and extraordinary picture of his experiences. He had all the charm and sadness of any artist and brushed over harrowing events of his past trying not to show the pain that they so clearly caused him. Simultaneously, he confronted his sexual history in graphic detail which alluded to the violence and aggression with which his art is so often associated. Inevitably unhinged, one couldn’t help but anticipate the slippery slope that the performance, and two bottles of champagne, would lead him down.

(Bacon - Pip Utton Theatre Co.)

Bacon asked one thing of us and the end of this journey: that we think for ourselves. Enraged at the reaction that his art has caused, enraged by the incessant need its viewers have for an explanation, in talking to us and in being himself, Bacon comes to answer these questions despite his furious disinclination to do so. To understand art is to understand its artist; both in the case of this uncomfortable, daring, and delightful performance as in the case of Bacon’s paintings. This show was the perfect ode to one of our great artists, but I urge you to not take my word for it. Go and watch it, and think for yourself.


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